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The Committee to Protect Journalists calls attention to threats to free speech around the world, including President Donald Trump's anti-press rhetoric. (Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Trolling Trump, Journalism Watchdog to Hold 'Global Press Oppressor Awards on Monday at 5:00'

"Subjects will cover Thinnest Skinned & Outrageous Use of Laws, in various categories for world leaders."

Julia Conley

In response to President Donald Trump's announcement this week that he plans to hold an awards ceremony for dishonest media outlets, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said Friday it was organizing its own event to honor anti-press world leaders.

CPJ documents threats to press freedom including cases of journalists being killed, injured and imprisoned while reporting as well as attacks on the media by Trump and other politicians.

The group's announcement mirrored Trump's earlier tweet saying that he would be holding "THE MOST DISHONEST & CORRUPT MEDIA AWARDS OF THE YEAR on Monday at 5:00 o'clock." (sic)

"Subjects will cover Dishonesty & Bad Reporting in various categories from the Fake News Media," the president added.

In December, capping off a year during which he regularly attacked the press for its coverage of his administration and policies, Trump sent an email to his supporters asking them to help him decide which media outlet should win the award for "fakest news."

A Rasmussen poll taken after the president first promoted his idea for an awards ceremony, in a November tweet, found that 40 percent of respondents believed Fox News, which has covered the Trump administration far more favorably than other cable networks, should win Trump's "Fakest News Trophy."

CPJ's planned awards will follow their annual Press Freedom Awards, held in November. The group honored a journalist who has been jailed since 2015 for his reporting in Cameroon, and reporters who have been under threat for their coverage of human rights and politics in Mexico, Thailand, and Yemen.

The group has also been sharply critical of Trump's treatment of the press, partnering with several other organizations to run the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, which catalogues threats to journalists including the president's anti-media rhetoric and actions.

Most recently the tracker documented Trump's attempt to stop the publication of Michael Wolff's book about his first year in office, and the president's statement that an ABC News reporter "should be immediately fired" for incorrectly reporting on the timing of Trump's conversations with former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn regarding Russia—a mistake that ABC quickly corrected.

"The United States has some of the strongest legal free speech protections in the world, and serves as a beacon for press freedom in a world where journalists are routinely censored, attacked, or imprisoned for their work," notes the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker's website. "But the U.S. record is imperfect, and journalists and advocates must tirelessly defend the First Amendment in courts, in legislatures, and in the media. Constant vigilance and an honest accounting of the country’s track record on press freedom are essential."

 


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