“Donald Trump Is a Threat to Press Freedom”

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

In an unprecedented step, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said Thursday that the Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s presidency would represent a threat to press freedom.

In response to Trump’s threats and vilification of the media during his campaign, the chairman of CPJ’s board, Sandra Mims Rowe, said, “Guaranteeing the free flow of information to citizens through a robust, independent press is essential to American democracy.”

Donald Trump, through his words and actions as a candidate for president of the United States, has consistently betrayed First Amendment values, said the CPJ statement.

On October 6, CPJ’s board of directors passed a resolution declaring Trump an unprecedented threat to the rights of journalists and to CPJ’s ability to advocate for press freedom around the world.

Since the beginning of his candidacy, according to CPJ, Trump has insulted and vilified the press and has made his opposition to the media a centerpiece of his campaign.

Trump has routinely labeled the press as “dishonest” and “scum” and singled out individual news organizations and journalists, CPJ said in its statement.

Further, CPJ gave many examples when Trump misbehaved with different journalists. He, for example, mocked a disabled New York Times journalist and called an ABC News reporter a “sleaze” in a press conference.

He expelled Univision anchor Jorge Ramos from a campaign press conference because he asked an “impertinent” question, and has publicly demeaned other journalists, CPJ says.

Throughout his campaign, Trump has routinely made vague proposals to limit basic elements of press and internet freedom. At a rally in February, Trump declared that if elected president he would “open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money.”

In September, according to CPJ, Trump tweeted, “My lawyers want to sue the failing @nytimes so badly for irresponsible intent. I said no (for now), but they are watching. Really disgusting.”

On Thursday, however, the The New York Times responded to a letter from a Trump counsel who asked the newspaper to remove an article from its website.

The article discussed Trump’s lewd conversation and sexual assaults on women. The New York Times refused to remove the article.

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Rakesh Raman