A group that defends the rights of journalists said Thursday that a Donald Trump presidency would threaten press freedom not only in the United States but around the world.
The Committee to Protect Journalists, a New York-based advocacy group, said it had never before warned of a presidential candidacy but that the Republican nominee “represents a threat to press freedom unknown in modern history.”
“Donald Trump, through his words and actions as a candidate for president of the United States, has consistently betrayed First Amendment values,” Sandra Mims Rowe, a veteran newspaper editor who is chairwoman of CPJ’s board, said in a statement.
“A Trump presidency would represent a threat to press freedom in the United States, but the consequences for the rights of journalists around the world could be far more serious. Any failure of the United States to uphold its own standards emboldens dictators and despots to restrict the media in their own country,” Rowe said on behalf of the group.
Trump has vilified journalists since the beginning of his campaign, calling the press “dishonest” and “scum” and mocking a New York Times journalist with a disability, Rowe said.
The CPJ statement said that any erosion of media protections in the United States “emboldens dictators and despots to restrict the media in their own countries.”