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It's not just Trump

A review of threats to press freedom

Members of the media raise their hands to be called on by White House press secretary Sean Spicer during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, 27 April 2017
Members of the media raise their hands to be called on by White House press secretary Sean Spicer during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, 27 April 2017

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

This report was originally published on indexcensorship.org.

Smears about the media made by US President Donald Trump have obscured a wider problem with press freedom in the United States: namely widespread and low-level animosity that feeds into the everyday working lives of the nation's journalists, bloggers and media professionals. This study examines documented reports from across the country in the six months leading up to the presidential inauguration and the months after. It clearly shows that threats to US press freedom go well beyond the Oval Office.

"Animosity toward the press comes in many forms. Journalists are targeted in several ways: from social media trolling to harassment by law enforcement to over-the-top public criticism by those in the highest office. The negative atmosphere for journalists is damaging for the public and their right to information," said Jodie Ginsberg, CEO at Index on Censorship, which documented the cases using an approach undertaken by the organization to monitor press freedom in Europe over the past three years.

The US study shows journalists have been on the receiving end of online and offline harassment, as well as being arrested and charged with criminal offenses just for doing their job.

Reporters traveling into the country have also been caught up in the move to tighten border security, a trend that began during President Barack Obama's administration but gathered pace after the Trump inauguration on January 20, 2017. Without clear guidelines, journalists have found themselves at the mercy of Customs and Border Protection agents who have seized and searched their electronic devices.

Click here to read the full report.

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