Tuesday 14 August 2018 - 05:56

Trump is 'close to inciting violence on media': UN human rights chief

Story Code : 744483
This AFP file photo taken on August 30, 2017, shows United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein.
This AFP file photo taken on August 30, 2017, shows United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein.

Trump’s “campaign against the media” could lead to journalists being harmed, or to them censoring themselves, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, a Jordanian diplomat and outgoing United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in an interview with The Guardian newspaper published Monday.

“We began to see a campaign against the media … that could have potentially, and still can, set in motion a chain of events which could quite easily lead to harm being inflicted on journalists just going about their work and potentially some self-censorship,” he said. “And in that context, it’s getting very close to incitement to violence.”

Zeid is stepping down this month as the human rights commissioner after reportedly deciding not to stand for a second four-year term, in the face of waning commitment among world powers to fighting abuses.

He said Trump’s example was already being followed by dictators in other countries, giving them license to crack down on the media in ways they had not previously dared to. “The US creates a demonstration effect, which then is picked up by other countries where the leadership tends to be more authoritarian [in] character or aspires to be authoritarian.”

Zeid has also criticized the Trump administration over its policy of separating children from their undocumented migrant families who cross the US-Mexico border, as well as Trump’s rhetoric against minorities.

100 editorials against Trump
On Thursday, over 100 newspapers across the US will publish coordinated editorial responses to Trump’s repeated attacks on the media.

The campaign has been organized by The Boston Globe, whose editorial staff approached news outlets across the country asking them to write an editorial denouncing the president’s hostility to the media.

“This dirty war on the free press must end,” said the appeal. “Publications, whatever their politics, could make a powerful statement by standing together in the common defense of their profession and the vital role it plays in government for and by the people.”

As of Saturday, more than 100 publications had signed up to the campaign. The publications include large metropolitan newspapers like the Miami Herald, Denver Post and Houston Chronicle, as well as small weekly newspapers.