Under Siege: The State of Press Freedom under the Trump Administration

Posted By David Wilhite

Monday, Dec. 4
2 p.m. EST

President Donald Trump’s attacks on the media pose serious obstacles to U.S. press freedom enshrined in the First Amendment to the Constitution. During Trump’s 10 months in office, reporters have been arrested or manhandled for shouting questions at federal government officials, and some have been subjected to equipment searches and seizures. Some government agencies have instructed employees not to speak to members of the press or have made federal data and statistics more difficult for journalists to obtain. And Trump himself has advocated for revoking the broadcasting licenses of television networks that he dislikes.

Whenever journalists have called Trump on falsehoods or criticized his policy, he has struck back, calling them “truly dishonest people” and “the enemy of the American people.” Media experts say the president’s relentless thrashings amount to an attack on the press freedom that could spark violence against reporters.

SABEW’s December teletraining session will feature a panel of experts who will discuss their observations and concerns about press freedom under the Trump administration and how journalists can overcome the obstacles it poses.

Listen to the recording.

Moderator

David Cuillier is the director of the University of Arizona’s School of Journalism and a member of the Society of Professional Journalists’ Freedom of Information Committee. He is also a board member of the National Freedom of Information Coalition and First Amendment Coalition of Arizona. David served as president of the SPJ in 2013 and 2014.

 

 

Panelists

David Chavern is the president and CEO of the News Media Alliance and American Press Institute. He spent decades at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, lobbying in Washington, D.C., for businesses and entrepreneurs. He was most recently president of the organization’s Center for Advanced Technology & Innovation. From 2007 to 2014, David was the Chamber’s executive vice president and chief operating officer.

 

 

 

Alexandra Ellerbeck is the North America program coordinator at the Committee to Protect Journalists. She previously worked as a Freedom on the Net researcher at Freedom House and was a Fulbright teaching fellow at the State University of Pará in Brazil.

 

 

 

Gregg Leslie is legal defense director at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press where he has served as a staff attorney since 1994. He is also editor of the organization’s news publications and guides. Gregg has served as chairman of the D.C. Bar’s Media Law Committee and as a member of the governing committee of the Communications Law Forum of the American Bar Association, as well as the ABA’s Fair Trial and Free Press Task Force.

 

 

Ken Paulson is dean of the College of Media and Entertainment at Middle Tennessee State University and president of the First Amendment Center at the Newseum Institute in Washington, D.C. He served as editor-in-chief of USA Today from 2004 to 2009 and was with the Gannett paper in 1982 when it was founded. Ken is also a lawyer who has served as president and CEO of the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

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