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Need balance between national security, media freedom: Obama

The Obama administration is in the middle of a controversy related to intrusion into the phone call records of reporters and editors of the Associated Press.

Washington: US President Barack Obama has emphasised on maintaining a balance between national security and media freedom, as his administration is in the middle of a controversy related to intrusion into the phone call records of reporters and editors of the Associated Press by the Justice Department.

Obama, however, refused to directly comment on the issue of Associated Press as the case is under investigation.

"I can talk broadly about the balance that we have to strike. Leaks related to national security can put people at risk. They can put men and women in uniform that I`ve sent into the battlefield at risk.”

"They can put some of our intelligence officers, who are in various, dangerous situations that are easily compromised, at risk," Obama said in response to a question at a joint news conference with the visiting Turkish Prime Minister on Thursday.

"So I make no apologies, and I don`t think the American people would expect me as Commander-in-Chief not to be concerned about information that might compromise their missions or might get them killed," Obama noted.

"Now, the flip side of it is we also live in a democracy where a free press, free expression, and the open flow of information helps hold me accountable, helps hold our government accountable, and helps our democracy function.”

"The whole reason I got involved in politics is because I believe so deeply in that democracy and that process," he added.

The Obama Administration is now pushing for the passage of media shield law by the US Congress.

"The whole goal of this media shield law -- that was worked on and largely endorsed by folks like The Washington Post Editorial Page and by prosecutors -- was finding a way to strike that balance appropriately," Obama said.

"I think that`s a worthy conversation to have, and I think that`s important," said the US President.

Obama said it is important to recognise that when concerns are expressed about leaks at a time when they have got 60,000-plus troops in Afghanistan.

"I`ve still got a whole bunch of intelligence officers around the world who are in risky situations that part of my job is to make sure that we`re protecting what they do, while still accommodating for the need for information or the need for the public to be informed and be able to hold my office accountable," Obama stressed.


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