According to Bloomberg Law, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is seeking a contractor’s help in compiling a database of journalists, foreign correspondents and “media influencers” with special focus on “any and all” coverage about DHS and specific events. The department has its eyes on more than 290,000 global news sources. 

Bloomberg secured details of the plan through an information request, and reported that DHS wants to monitor media coverage in more than 100 languages including Arabic, Chinese, and Russian, with instant article translation to English. 

The federal agency also plans to monitor publications and people’s “sentiment,” which has drawn fears about the censorship of unfavorable facts.

As ThinkProgress noted, these plans “prompted concern among those who report critically on President Trump or share such views on social media.” Given the president’s tendency to call unfavorable coverage “fake news” and allegations of Russian interference in American elections, the plans arise during an era of increased concern about media accuracy.

The vendor DHS selects will be expected to set up an online portal “giving users the ability to browse based on location, beat, and type of influence.” Each “influencer” will be posted alongside “present contact details and any other information that could be relevant, including publications this influencer writes for, and an overview of the previous coverage published by the media influencer.”

Contractor responses are due by April 13. 

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