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New database established on journalist safety in U.S.

A coalition of organizations has founded a website to track press freedom incidents in the U.S. The website will feature information on “journalist arrests, border stops, searches and seizures, leak prosecutions and subpoenas demanding that reporters testify on their confidential sources.” (The Poynter Institute, April 19, 2017, by Benjamin Mullin)

Peter Sterne, the new director of the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, wrote an article in December questioning the willingness of the Trump administration and particularly Attorney Jeff Sessions to defend journalists and a free media. Some fear that Trump will follow the Obama administration’s lead in bringing criminal charges under the Espionage Act against government employees talking with reporters. (Politico Magazine, December 11, 2016, by Peter Sterne)

And before the November election, the Committee to Protect Journalists released a statement declaring Trump a “threat”  to journalists. The statement read in part,

“Donald Trump, through his words and actions as a candidate for president of the United States, has consistently betrayed First Amendment values. On October 6, CPJ’s board of directors passed a resolution declaring Trump an unprecedented threat to the rights of journalists and to CPJ’s ability to advocate for press freedom around the world.

Since the beginning of his candidacy, Trump has insulted and vilified the press and has made his opposition to the media a centerpiece of his campaign. Trump has routinely labeled the press as “dishonest” and “scum” and singled out individual news organizations and journalists.” (CPJ, October 13, 2016, press release)

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