Committee to Protect Journalists Recognizes Free Press Critics

fourth estate newIn light of President Donald Trump’s continued vows to hold the Fake News Awards, the Committee to Protect Journalists, a global press freedom advocacy group, announced that they are holding their own awards, the Press Oppressors awards. The organization recognized winners and runners-up (although winners may be used loosely in this regard) and an overall winner.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won two of the categories while President Trump was recognized in two categories with a win and a second place.

In the category of “Most Thin-Skinned,” President Erdogan won as “over the course of 2016, the Turkish judicial system handled 46,193 cases of ‘insulting the president.'” President Trump was named runner-up for his numerous criticisms of journalists as well as proposing reviewing broadcast licenses as a result of unflattering news coverage.

Related: In 2014, the Turkish government seized a newspaper.

The Committee to Protect Journalists also recognized countries that have imprisoned journalists under terror laws. Erdogan won this category as well with every one of the at least 73 journalists jailed on terrorism-related charges. The Turkish government has conducted mass arrests of members of the media, claiming that they are members of a shadow government. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was named runner-up in part because the government passed a law in 2017 that allowed journalists acquitted of terrorism charges to be put on a watch list.

Looking at countries with the strongest grip on independent media, Chinese President Xi Jinping won as a result of internet-based censorship and ordering journalists not to cover certain topics. President Vladimir Putin of Russia was named runner-up as, in the Committee’s words, “independent media has been all but eradicated.” Furthermore, the Russian government forced several news organizations to register as foreign agents after the United States forced Kremlin-linked news groups to do so.

Aung San Suu Kyi, the State Counselor of Myanmar, won “Biggest Backslider in Press Freedom.” After pardoning journalists shortly after taking power, government officials and workers have blocked journalists trying to cover the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingyas and two Reuters reporters have been arrested and held for close to a month. President Andrzej Duda of Poland won second place as the government has taken control of public media and attempted to hurt the independent press financially by cutting subscriptions, issuing fines, and shifting advertising to pro-government outlets.

Trump won the award for “Overall Achievement in Undermining Global Press Freedom” and there was no runner-up. The group cited his anti-press rhetoric, such as “fake news,” that has now spread around the world and his refusal to discuss protections for the press with leaders whose countries have little freedom of the press.

About Tyler

Tyler is the chief media reporter for TKNN, with the news organization since its founding in November of 2010. He has previously served as chief political reporter and chief political anchor for TKNN.

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