News

April 27, 2018

US - RSF denounces the White House’s reaction to the World Press Freedom Index

NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP
After the United States dropped two places in ranking to 45th out of 180 countries in Reporters Without Borders' (RSF) 2018 World Press Freedom Index, citing President Donald Trump's denigration of the press as a factor, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders claims it is "ridiculous" to suggest Trump or his administration has done anything to contribute to this decline.

During a White House press briefing on Wednesday, April 25, Voice of America reporter Steve Herman asked Sanders if she was aware of the United States’ drop in ranking, and that according to RSF, much of the blame falls on the president for his attacks on the media. Sanders was quick to reject the notion that Trump or his administration has done anything to halt press freedom in the United States. She said Trump’s administration was one of the most accessible in decades, and “my mere presence of standing up here and taking your questions unvetted is a pretty good example of freedom of the press, and I think it’s pretty ridiculous to suggest otherwise.”


“Sarah Huckabee Sanders claims that press freedom in the United States is in good standing and that her presence at the briefing proves it," RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. “Spokespersons exist in all regimes, regardless of the level of freedom. President Trump’s spokesperson is in denial when she describes the United States’ ranking in the Index as ridiculous and rejects his own responsibility. In addition to Trump’s incessant harassment of reporters and media in his first year in office, there was also a well-documented increase in arrests, violent attacks, and online harassment of journalists at the local level. It's hard to believe how anyone could look at this data and find a decline in press freedom in this country ridiculous.”


Read more about RSF’s analysis of the United States’ decline in press freedom.