The United States has become a less safe place for journalists, and the threats they face are becoming the standard, according to a new report by an international press freedom organization.
Reporters Sans Frontières, or Reporters Without Borders, dropped the U.S. to No. 48 out of 180 on its annual World Press Freedom Index, three notches lower than its place last year.
The report also pointed a finger at President Trump who, it said, “exacerbates” press freedom problems with his repeated declarations that journalists are an “enemy of the American people,” his accusations of “fake news,” his calls to revoke broadcasting licenses and his efforts to block specific outlets from access to the White House.
“The president’s relentless attacks against the press has created an environment where verbal, physical and online threats and assault against journalists are becoming normalized,” RSF Interim Executive Director Sabine Dolan told NPR.
She calls the situation in the United States “unprecedented” but says Trump enhanced an environment that had already declined under President Barack Obama.
“Even before President Trump, the Obama administration was aggressively using the 1917 Espionage Act to prosecute more whistleblowers than any previous administration combined,” she says.
Courtney Radsch, advocacy director at the Committee to Protect Journalists, told NPR that RSF’s findings are not surprising. Reporters in the United States have been attacked by both police and protesters while covering demonstrations, and others have been targeted at the border by authorities, she says. “The anti-press rhetoric, coming from the highest office, can kind of set this tinder on fire,” says Radsch.
Accusations of fake news have led to exponential increases in imprisoned journalists.
Full Story @ NPR