UN and Inter-American experts on freedom of expression have condemned the US president and urged to cease efforts to undermine the media’s role of holding government accountable.
Mr Trump has regularly labelled the media as being the “enemy of the American people” and “very dishonest” or “fake news”. He has also accused the press of “distorting democracy” or spreading “conspiracy theories and blind hatred”.
“His attacks are strategic, designed to undermine confidence in reporting and raise doubts about verifiable facts,” said David Kaye and Edison Lanza, the Special Rapporteurs on freedom of expression for the United Nations and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, respectively.
“These attacks run counter to the country’s obligations to respect press freedom and international human rights law."
“We are especially concerned that these attacks increase the risk of journalists being targeted with violence.”
They added that Mr Trump had little evidence to back up his claims.
“Each time the President calls the media ‘the enemy of the people’ or fails to allow questions from reporters from disfavoured outlets he suggests nefarious motivations or animus. But he has failed to show even once that specific reporting has been driven by any untoward motivations,” they said.
The experts encouraged all media to act in solidarity against the efforts of President Trump to favour some outlets over others.
“Two years of attacks on the press could have long term negative implications for the public’s trust in media and public institutions," the said. “Two years is two years too much, and we strongly urge that President Trump and his administration and his supporters end these attacks."