‘There is a Trump effect’ | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 15, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:50 AM, July 15, 2020

‘There is a Trump effect’

UN expert accuses White House of mounting 'onslaught' against global press freedom

The UN special rapporteur on freedom of expression on Monday accused the White House of mounting an "onslaught" against the media and referred to a negative "Trump effect" on global press freedom.

In his last official press briefing before his six-year tenure ends later this month, David Kaye said in a series of forthright comments that he hoped "attacks" on US journalists would end when President Donald Trump leaves office.

"Clearly the signature issue over the past four years now has been the way in which this particular president addresses the media: The way he denigrates the media, denigrates freedom of expression," he told journalists in Geneva. Kaye specified that the so-called onslaught consisted of criticism of reporters and spreading "disinformation," as well as partnerships with conservative media organisations.

When Kaye was asked about the impact of that on press freedom around the world, the special rapporteur said: "There clearly is a Trump effect, a very negative one," adding that the Trump administration has created a global culture of permissiveness.

Kaye also raised broad concerns about government crackdowns that has worsened with the COVID-19 pandemic in a trend he described as "very disturbing" and contributing to the spread of the disease.

"Unfortunately often under the guise of trying to restrict disinformation, governments have resorted to old tools of clamping down on the free flow of information," he said, without naming specific countries.

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