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US relations with the Middle East have always been unsteady at the very least. But after the NSA spying mess, trust has fallen to an all time low. Press freedoms have suffered greatly because of this. Journalists face pressure to reveal their sources and must rely on Middle East VPNs to protect communications.
Press Freedoms Threatened
Clampdowns on the freedoms of the press are a global phenomenon. Press freedoms are at their worst in ten years everywhere in the world. But the deterioration of the situation in the Middle East has made conditions grim in that area. The governments of the US and UK have been keeping a very tight rein on the media since 2012. The Middle East is scoring very low on the press freedom scale as a reflection of what has been happening there.
Government officials in the US and UK have always restricted what types of information the press can gain access to. But since 2012, they have expanded the constraints. Notably, more requests for the release of information under the Freedom of Information Act were refused. The governments are increasingly citing national security as the reason for denying access to the press. News writers who have tried to report on these concerns were then pressured by the federal government to give evidence. As this would force the journalists to divulge their sources, the state of affairs has become very tense.
Media rights and freedoms have declined further since June 2013 when Edward Snowden released NSA files to the press. The mass surveillance efforts of the US and UK governments have thrown a heavy blanket of doubt on whether the press can truly keep any sensitive information undisclosed. Because these governments have been spying on the communications of journalists, they are now held under suspicion. The protection given to news sources is no longer trusted. The precarious situation of correspondents in the Middle East has therefore become even more insecure.
Middle East VPNs Protect Media Sources
Countries like the US and UK have been considered the most free in terms of media coverage. Now, the press in these countries is being constrained in unprecedented ways. The forced destruction of computer hard drives at the UK newspaper the Guardian is one striking example of this. Alan Rusbridger, the paper’s Editor in Chief, was pressured by officials of the GCHQ to dispose of the evidence given to the Guardian by Snowden.
In these times of greatly diminished press freedoms, Middle East VPNs are playing a major role. Middle East VPNs are employed as tools to help journalists protect their sources and regain lost freedoms. Middle East VPNs allow these members of the press to avoid detection as they share information with sources. Encrypted, private communications via Middle East VPNs protect the material and the sources from being intercepted by spy agencies.
Press freedoms in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world are not expected to loosen up any time soon. But in the current situation, Middle East VPNs are helping the media to continue to exercise their rights and obligations. With Middle East VPNs, they can report the news while preserving their relationships with key sources as the Guardian and Washington Post have done.