Committee to Protect Journalists says president is sending a signal to countries such as Turkey, Ethiopia and Venezuela that it is OK to abuse journalists
The Trump administration should act as a champion of press freedom, a senior member of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said on Saturday, rather than prosecute a war with mainstream US media that could send a signal to other countries that it is OK to verbally abuse journalists and undermine their credibility.
Rob Mahoney, deputy executive director of the CPJ, a nonprofit that promotes press freedom worldwide, told the Guardian Trumps attacks on the press do not help our work trying to deal with countries like Turkey, Ethiopia or Venezuela, where you have governments who want to nothing more than to silence and intimidate the press.
Mahoney also said attempts to favour conservative press outlets and declare the mainstream media the enemy of the American people looked like a deliberate effort by the White House to inoculate itself from criticism.
Any time the press now uncovers an scandal or wrongdoing the administration can dismiss it as false, he said.
On Friday, the administration blocked a number of media outlets, including the New York Times, CNN and the Guardian, from an off-camera briefing with the press secretary, Sean Spicer.
Spicer later said the White House planned to aggressively push back against the press. Were just not going to sit back and let false narratives, false stories, inaccurate facts get out there, he said.
On Friday night, Trump kept up his attack, using Twitter to say: FAKE NEWS media knowingly doesnt tell the truth. A great danger to our country. The failing @nytimes has become a joke. Likewise @CNN. Sad!
Read more: www.theguardian.com