America cannot call itself the champion of free press

Photo: Anthony Moretti 19Jan2017

Three cheers for the red, white and blue, just be sure you don’t say something askew.

One of the myths of American excellence is that the country upholds freedom of the press.

Well…

According to the 2020 World Press Freedom Index, the U.S. is ranked 45th out of 180 nations, trailing such seemingly stalwart open countries as Uruguay (ranked 19th), Namibia (23rd), Slovenia (32nd) and Botswana (39th). The Index suggests

Press freedom in the United States continued to suffer during President Donald Trump’s third year in office. Arrests, physical assaults, public denigration and the harassment of journalists continued in 2019, though the numbers of journalists arrested and assaulted were slightly lower than the year prior. Much of that ire has come from President Trump and his associates in the federal government, who have demonstrated the United States is no longer a champion of press freedom at home or abroad.

The U.S. also seems determined to identify international news agencies as foreign missions. This week it added more Chinese agencies to its list, drawing a sharp rebuke from Beijing.

Remember, the onus is on the American government and the American people to uphold the idea of freedom of the press. At least one data point would indicate we are failing to do that.

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