SPJ to Trump: End Coronavirus-Related Speech Restrictions

The D.C. chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, on reports the Trump administration is clamping down on government statements about the coronavirus, say those are just the latest in decades-long efforts by government agencies to control information flow.

It wants journalists to keep that history in mind when they report on this latest effort, which reportedly is the Trump Administration's tighter control on the public statements and appearances by government health officials and scientists on the status of the virus.

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"The D.C. Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) warns that such control over the communication of health officials and scientists to the journalists is dangerous and damaging to the public's understanding of the coronavirus situation, as well as most other issues."

The President has argued that media outlets are hyping the virus, and tanking the stock market, as a way to help Democrats undermine his Administration.

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SPJ said that while it understands the need to designate certain sources for official comment, "silencing" other "flows of expression" keeps people in the dark.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.