This week’s Public Affairs Discussion group to cover freedom of press

Jim SheelerThe weekly Public Affairs Discussion Group will continue this week with a talk titled, “Press Freedom and the Edward Snowden Affair.”

Jim Sheeler, the Shirley Wormser Professor of Journalism and Media Writing, will lead the discussion, which will take place Friday, Nov. 1, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in the Dampeer Room at Kelvin Smith Library.

“In the Obama administration’s Washington,” writes former Washington Post executive editor Leonard Downie Jr., “government officials are increasingly afraid to talk to the press. Those suspected of discussing with reporters anything the government has classified as secret are subject to investigation, including lie-detector tests and scrutiny of their telephone and e-mail records.”

In the U.K., meanwhile, The Guardian’s editor was ordered to return or destroy all material related to its reporting on the NSA surveillance program that Snowden revealed. The Guardian destroyed hard drives in the presence of British Intelligence agents—but maintains documents in other countries. Meanwhile Snowden is stuck in Moscow, after the U.S. government pressured all other countries not to accept him.

The NSA’s surveillance may be less of a concern than the attempts to intimidate journalists and sources. Join Sheeler, a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist, to discuss these and other issues highlighted by the Snowden affair.

Since 1989, faculty, emeriti, students and staff have gathered on Fridays for a brown-bag lunch and to discuss topics in public affairs.

For updates and more information about the Friday lunch schedule, visit

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