Throughout the world, writers and journalists play a vital role in upholding democracy and ensuring the public’s right to information. That’s why freedom of the press is protected by both the US Constitution and international law.
But what happens when major political figures turn their hostility toward journalists with whom they disagree?
That’s what’s happening in this year’s presidential campaign as candidates and their supporters launch vicious insults and threats at journalists, exclude reporters and media outlets from access to campaigns, and make hostile remarks and gestures toward individual journalists.
Please stand with People For the American Way and PEN America in denouncing the intimidation of journalists.
Varying degrees of cooperation with the press and transparency are to be expected. And, sadly, we’ve gotten used to politicians on the Right scapegoating the press, and their efforts to delegitimize facts by delegitimizing the entire press, as a whole, as overtly biased.
But now, thanks to the extreme tone set in the presidential primaries, and by the GOP’s presumptive nominee himself, Donald Trump, journalists are being attacked on the basis of their race, sex, religion, cultural background, and even for physical disabilities.
Legal protections of press freedom and free expression are being threatened. Meanwhile candidates incite anger toward journalists and stand idly by as the resulting attacks play out in the public eye.
A blog post from PEN America, our partners on this action, cites some scary examples to illustrate the trend:
Journalist Julia Ioffe received a torrent of anti-Semitic threats and abuse, some including graphic Holocaust-related imagery, after writing a profile of Donald Trump’s wife for GQ. Others including New York Times editor Jonathan Weisman and freelancer Bethany Mandel have been similarly targeted. These tactics constrain informed debate. When candidates fail to swiftly and unequivocally condemn such tactics, they can give tacit license to them.
Together we must defend our democracy and our right to information. Thanks for taking the time to speak out.
— Ben Betz, Online Engagement Director
This action is cosponsored by: