No to Censorship - Trump’s America’s Attacks on Independent Media Must Stop

2018-08-06 12:17

Statements

No to Censorship - Trump’s America’s Attacks on Independent Media Must Stop

PRESS RELEASE - Since taking office US President Donald Trump has made a point at slamming those media outlets he views as ‘contrary’ to his views, and that of his administration.

While it is anyone’s prerogative to disagree with any given news outlets, it is another thing to actively seek to shut down, disappear, or altogether censor the media to serve one’s political agenda. President Trump’s ‘fake news’ labelling and shunning of press diversity has led to a series of grave abuses against media, and journalists.

As a matter of principle, the Journalist Support Committee strongly opposes any infringement on Free Speech and Press Freedom. More to the point, the JSC is committed to the promotion of a vibrant free press away from pressure, fear, and coercion.

Without a free and independent press no society can claim democracy.

As George Orwell wrote: “Freedom of the Press, if it means anything at all, means the freedom to criticize and oppose.”

Trump’s administration’s propensity to shut out and dismiss those voices it holds in disregard is deeply troubling. In late 2017 former CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather compared Trump's words to those of dictators. He said: "There's a massive effort using the full force and power of the presidency to intimidate journalists … To convince the public at large that journalists are 'enemies of the people.' That is a very dangerous phrase — echoes of totalitarian regimes of the past."

In April 2018, The New York Times editorial board warned that Trump's constant pointing out of journalists at his rallies as "those people back there ... the fake news" isn't just Trump being Trump — it's dangerous. "Many people, including many Republican lawmakers, dismiss President Trump's attacks on The Washington Post, CNN and other news organizations as just one of those crazy — but ultimately harmless — things he does to blow off steam. They're wrong."

Such culture of censorship carries now to social media. 

Earlier this month Mintpress News, an independent US-based media outlet was barred from Facebook.

A popular news site offering independent analyses and viewpoints on issues relating to imperialism and unfettered capitalism, Mintpress News essentially saw its ability to impart information crippled by a ban that betrays America’s dystopian grasp on what constitutes Free Press and Freedom of Expression.

We deplore such a blatant violation!

The Journalist Support Committee is not alone in its critic of media freedom under President Trump’s administration. A recent press release read: “The UN and Inter-American experts on freedom of expression have condemned US President Donald Trump’s repeated attacks on the free press and urged him and his administration to cease efforts to undermine the media’s role of holding government accountable, honest and transparent.”

David Kaye and Edison Lanza, the Special Rapporteurs on freedom of expression for the United Nations and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights both further stressed: “The attack on the media goes beyond President Trump’s language. We also urge his entire administration, including the Department of Justice, to avoid pursuing legal cases against journalists in an effort to identify confidential sources, an effort that undermines the independence of the media and the ability of the public to have access to information.”

Journalist Support Committee - Switzerland
6 August 2018