Media advocate: Trump’s anti-press rhetoric emboldens other countries 

Media advocate Courtney Radsch says President Trump’s anti-press rhetoric has emboldened other world leaders to ramp up similar attacks in their own countries.

Radsch, the advocacy director of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), pointed to four nations in particular cracking down on press freedoms and harassing members of the press.

“These leaders in Egypt, Turkey, and China and Russia — they don’t need the excuse, but they’re happy to have the justification that the U.S. is using this rhetoric too,” Radsch told Hill.TV co-hosts Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton on “Rising.”

The number of journalists being imprisoned for their work worldwide hit a record high last year.

Turkey remains the world’s worst offender of jailing journalists for the second consecutive time, with 73 journalists behind bars, compared with 81 last year, according an annual report by CPJ.

Radsch said attacks against the press are nothing new, citing President Obama’s sweeping surveillance efforts in 2013. But she said Trump has taken the criticism of the press and “lit a lot of those trends on fire.”

“I think the difference with this administration is in large part rhetorical — so even though, for example, President Obama oversaw one of the biggest mass surveillance programs in history that very negatively journalists, there was a rhetorical commitment to press freedoms globally that had a real impact and I don’t think we’re seeing that with this administration,” she told Hill.TV.

Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, expressed similar worries in an interview this week.

Zeid, who steps down this month, told The Guardian on Monday that Trump is getting “very close” to inciting violence against journalists with his “enemy of the people” remarks.

But some members of the press are taking a stand. On Thursday, more than 100 newspapers across the country, including The Boston Globe, plan to publish an editorial calling for an end on Trump’s attacks against the press.

Radsch, who joined “Rising” to discuss the initiative, said she hopes that it will help bring a “broader perspective” when it comes to the importance of continuing to protect the freedom of the press.

CPJ is an independent nonprofit that seeks to “promote press freedom and defends the rights of journalists.”

— Tess Bonn

Featured clips