UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has said that US President Donald Trump’s attacks on the media could amount to incitement and embolden followers to attack certain communities.
“It is really quite amazing when you think that freedom of the press, something that the United States defended over the years is now itself under attack from the President himself,” the UN human rights chief told a press briefing here on Wednesday, Xinhua news agency reported.
“It’s a sort of stunning turnaround, and ultimately the sequences are dangerous one: incitement and fear, self-censorship, banning and then violence,” he added.
The UN official also expressed special concern about derogatory remarks by the US President about journalists and media institutions.
“I wish to also draw on the President’s repeated attacks on three of the most well respected news organisations in the world: The New York Times, the Washington Post and CNN repeatedly referring to the organisations as liars, as crooks and most recently in Arizona, he went as far as to refer to journalists as really really dishonest people, bad people, who don’t like the country,” Zeid said.
Speaking in Arizona last week, US President Donald Trump has defended his response to a white supremacist-organised rally in Virginia, and criticized news organizations for their coverage of the violence in the Virginia college town of Charlottesville, calling journalists “truly dishonest people”.
“I have to ask the question: is this not an incitement for others to attack journalists ? And let’s assume a journalist is harmed from one of these organizations, does the President then not bear responsibility for this? ” Zeid noted.
“The demonization of the press is poisonous because it has consequences elsewhere”, he stressed.