September 17, 2018

US - #WeeklyAddress: September 10 - September 16: Foreign journalists face obstacles applying for work visas in US

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

Foreign journalists face obstacles applying for work visas in US

Under the Trump administration, increasingly high requirements have made it difficult for foreign journalists to qualify for a US work visa, according to a September 12 report from the Columbia Journalism Review. According to attorney Rakhel Milstein, journalists must fulfill several admission criteria, which include having a “leading or critical role” in a project, “a similar role in an organization or publication, significant recognition via testimonials from experts in the field, and national or international recognition….high salary and commercial success.” US Citizenship and Immigration Services can also issue a Request for Evidence (RFE), which requires journalists to pay steep costs and provide references, proof of employment, and evidence of reputable published work. Alongside these demands, some journalists have faced hostility from USCIS officials and have cited slow and vague responses to their applications.



Press Secretary Sanders says Justice Department has right to consider investigating anonymous op-ed author

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders claimed in a September 10 press briefing that the Trump administration has urged the Justice Department to consider investigating the anonymous New York Times op-ed author. When one reporter asked what law President Donald Trump believes has been violated as it relates to the article, she responded: “We would consider someone who is actively trying to undermine the Executive Branch of our government inappropriate and something certainly to cause concern. And they should take a look at it.” The administration’s concerns, the reporter countered, do not warrant accusations of unlawful behavior. Sanders then reiterated the administration’s right to call on the Justice Department, making no reference to the author’s right to constitutional protection under the First Amendment.



“60 Minutes” producer threatened journalist’s job for reporting on allegations against him

Jeff Fager, executive producer of CBS’s “60 Minutes” and the subject of an investigation into sexual misconduct, sent a threatening text messages to CBS reporter Jericka Duncan after she requested a comment for a report on allegations against him. Fager wrote: “There are people who lost their jobs trying to harm me, and if you pass on these damaging claims without your own reporting to back them up that will become a serious problem.” Fager was fired on September 12 for sending these messages, and while some CBS employees have expressed regret over his dismissal, most have stood behind Duncan, calling the messages “unacceptable” and “inappropriate.”


The United States ranks 45th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2018 World Press Freedom Index after falling 2 places in the last year.

For all the latest updates, follow @RSF_en on Twitter.