June 17, 2019

US – #WeeklyAddress: June 10 – June 16: Sarah Sanders resigns as White House press secretary

Below are the most notable incidents regarding threats to press freedom in the US during the week of June 10 – June 16:

Sarah Sanders resigns as White House press secretary

After a two-year run as White House press secretary and one of President Donald Trump’s closest aides, Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced her resignation June 13. As press secretary, Sanders replaced the daily press briefings that had been a staple since the early 2000s with increasingly sporadic five-minute debriefs on the White House driveway. Prior to leaving, the White House had gone more than three months without an official, on-the-record press briefing. The administration has yet to announce who will replace her, and Sanders’ own trajectory once she leaves the White House at the end of June is the subject of speculation. She has expressed interest in running for governor of Arkansas but some media outlets and White House officials say she should consider becoming a contributor to a cable news program like Fox News.


Congress investigates internet giants’ anti-competitive moves

The US Congress opened its first ever investigation on June 10 into the pattern of internet giants like Google and Facebook of buying out potential competitors, leaving them with a monopoly-like control of digital distribution. This control gives internet companies unfair power as they play the role of middle-man in connecting news outlets to their audiences. In the congressional investigation, trade association News Media Alliance is advocating for evening the playing field by giving news outlets collective bargaining rights to secure a greater portion of advertising earnings. “They make money off this arrangement, and there needs to be a better outcome for news publishers,” said News Media Alliance President David Chavern.

The United States ranks 48th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2019 World Press Freedom Index.


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