Throughout the campaign period leading up to the U.S. election on November 8, President-elect Trump made a number of worrying moves against the press. He threatened to sue newspapers for publishing stories that are “purposely negative”, pledging to reform U.S. libel laws so that “when the New York Times or the Washington Post writes a hit piece, we can sue them.”
Trump later revoked The Washington Post’s press credentials, stating “based on the incredibly inaccurate coverage and reporting of the record setting Trump campaign, we are hereby revoking the press credentials of the phony and dishonest Washington Post.” Trump also insulted and bullied reporters who portrayed him negatively or asked him tough questions, and refused to participate in a republican debate because FoxNews refused to remove its reporter Megyn Kelly as a moderator.
“Trump’s actions to restrict the free press during his presidential campaign have sent a worrying signal about his intentions in the presidency," said Christophe Deloire, RSF Secretary-General. "As president, we call on him to ensure respect for press freedom and free speech under the First Amendment. The press must be able to carry out its work without fear of reprisal from a hostile White House.”
Moves to restrict the press during the presidential campaign are part of an overall alarming trend of curtailing press freedom in the United States. Since 2013, the U.S. ranking on RSF’s World Press Freedom Index has fallen by 14 points. It is now ranked 41 out of 180 countries.