Having already branded President-elect Donald Trump a threat to press freedom and journalist safety, the Committee to Protect Journalists has asked for a meeting with Vice President Mike Pence to talk about the Administration's commitment to freedom of the press.
They were writing to him in his capacity as head of the transition team, looking for help in correcting the "terrible example" the Trump campaign's treatment of journalists has set, a precedent of vilification that fuels attacks on press freedom, they argue.
In a letter to Pence Thursday (Nov. 17), CPJ executive director Joel Simon said he wanted to remind incoming officials about the "danger" that harassment of the press in the U.S.--Donald Trump has criticized media broadly as in a conspiracy against him, insulted journalists specifically, and threatened law suits and tightening libel laws--could be used as a "pretext" by others around the world to "persecute their critics."
He had some tough things to say about the Obama Administration, including prosecution of leakers, surveillance, and the seizure of record, but said that during the campaign the climate for journalists has "deteriorated sharply," saying that Trump has "obstructed major news organizations, attacked reporters by name, and contributed to a threatening climate for journalists covering the election."
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CPJ, which documents threats to press freedom has historically dealt mostly with those threats abroad, and does not want to have to start focusing on the U.S.
Pence, a former Indiana Congressman, was a founding member of the Congressional Caucus for the Freedom of the Press, and is himself a former talk radio host.
CPJ pointed to that caucus leaderships and legislation he introduced supporting the release of jailed journalists and said they looked forward to working with him.
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