News

November 2, 2020

US - Ahead of Election Day, dozens of candidates have pledged to protect press freedom by signing RSF’s Press Freedom Pact

RSF / BETC
Ahead of the November 3rd election, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has obtained dozens of signatures on the Press Freedom Pact, a commitment from candidates running for elected office in the United States to publicly reaffirm the principles of press freedom enshrined by the First Amendment.

A pledge of just under 50 words, RSF’s Press Freedom Pact urges US political leaders to use the opportunity of this election to begin to restore the nation’s press freedom record at home and abroad.

The list of signatories includes three sitting incumbents — Representatives Adam Schiff (D-CA), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), and Gerald Connolly (D-VA) — along with more than 40 additional candidates from all parties vying for office nationwide. RSF is grateful to all candidates who have signed the pact and applauds their efforts to champion the vital role of the free press in American democracy. The full list of signatories can be viewed on the campaign landing page

“We are encouraged to have the support of dozens of candidates who have pledged to take leadership in beginning to turn the United States’ worrying press freedom record around. We challenge all candidates - regardless of party affiliation - to join them by signing the pact before Election Day. There’s never been a more urgent time for concrete action to protect journalists and defend press freedom at home and abroad,” said Rebecca Vincent, RSF Director of International Campaigns. 

In the past two weeks alone, government retaliation against independent journalism has grown. On 22 October, President Trump violated his agreement with CBS News, preemptively releasing his 60 Minutes interview in an effort to retaliate against journalist Lesley Stahl - who, along with her family, received death threats following the interview and are now reportedly living under a protective detail. Meanwhile, US Agency for Global Media CEO Michael Pack rescinded the editorial “firewall” regulation which protected the journalistic independence of Voice of America and other networks from political interference. Additionally, the Department of Homeland Security has nearly finalized a deeply concerning draft rule that restricts visas for foreign journalists from five years to just 240 days. 

RSF calls again for all candidates running for elected office to join the nearly 50 signatories of the Press Freedom Pact in defending the independent media from undue political interference, intimidation and attack. RSF also encourages the public to mobilise in calling for candidates running in their  local, state, or federal elections to pledge their support to protect press freedom by signing the pact. 

The United States is ranked 45th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2020 World Press Freedom Index.

Notes:

  • For more information on the #PressFreedom Pact, visit the campaign landing page on RSF’s website, or contact RSF USA communications manager Collin Boylin at cboylin(a)rsf.org or via telephone at (202) 813-9497, extension 3.