PS: these presidents are against a free press

PS: эти президенты — против свободной прессы

Caracas — the President of the United States Donald trump put on the media label of “enemies of the people”. The President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro calls journalists “rotten” and “immoral” and accuses them in organizing “attacks” on him “for the sake of sensationalism”. The President of Mexico, andrés Manuel lópez Obrador (known as AMLO a) calling them “nobodies, the conservatives, the know-it-alls, hypocrites,” and “fifí” (bourgeois, pretentious”) and “chayoteros” (which means “takers”).Leaders-populists love the press, which gives them the opportunity to spread their ideas. But they hate journalism, asking pointed questions and demanding from them responsibility. This is exactly what we must protect.Trump, Bolsonaro and AMLO, despite all the differences between them, similar to its nationalist views, populist tactics and anti-democratic tendencies. And they are not limited to verbal attacks. The administration of the trump severely restricted the access of the press to the White house. She has revoked or suspended the accreditation of many journalists on such an inconclusive and vague grounds that the courts decided to restore the accreditation.And now trump has made another ominous break with tradition. For many years the White house receives daily copies of numerous Newspapers and magazines from the Financial Times to The New York Post. This is standard operating procedure in a democratic country: the centers of power need to be well informed, and then signed on various media, regardless of their editorial line.However, in October, trump decided that the White house will no longer receive neither The Washington Post nor The New York Times (he often accuses both publications of partiality and dishonesty). “They’re all fake,” said trump in an interview with Fox News, announcing these plans. His administration encouraged other Federal agencies to cancel their subscription to these publications.A week later after the decision trump his example was followed by Bolsonaro canceling all subscriptions of the authorities most respected in Brazil, the newspaper Folha de São Paulo. “I don’t want to know about Folha de São Paulo,” said Bolsonaro, explaining that reading the newspaper “is poisoning my government”. He added that advisers can always go to a kiosk and buy the newspaper (“I Hope they will not accuse me of censorship”), but it will not spent a penny of public funds. “And those who advertise in Folha de São Paulo, he concluded with a threat, — I will pay for all this attention, right?”Meanwhile in Mexico, AMLO has reduced the government’s budget for advertising in media, and these reductions affected publications critical of the government, for example, the newspaper Reforma. The AMLO has put forward unfounded accusations against Reforma, though she preferred the previous administration and is working in some secret interests. The consequences of this step is especially important in Mexico, where the media often depend on government ads.Today, Mexico ranks among the most dangerous for journalists in countries around the world. I think she would be safer under the President, who calls them enemies.Using the levers of government to punish the media-specific selected critical editorial line — the norm for dictators. The conversion of subscription, advertising or journalists access to the weapons is tantamount to attack on freedom of the press, speech and information, which clearly poses a serious threat to democracy.For example, Hugo Chavez, who ruled Venezuela for 14 years, constantly attacked by the press, trying to undermine her authority and present it to the enemy of the people. Pushing their own version of events and creating a hostile environment for the independent media, he has reached the “communication hegemony.”The successor to chávez, Nicolas Maduro, plays by the same rules. In recent years, more than 50 Newspapers stopped publishing the printed version, decrease the frequency of withdrawal (daily Newspapers become weeklies) or radically reduced the number of pages and circulation, partly caused by currency controls that are blocking the import of newsprint. Add to this direct governmental pressure (e.g., lawsuits) and the collapse of the economy (including hyperinflation), and it becomes clear that the free press of Venezuela, nearly destroyed.And it’s not a coincidence that it was under Chavez and Maduro Venezuela was the victim of a catastrophic economic decisions, large-scale and pervasive corruption with the participation of “friends”. Today Venezuela is a dictatorship, where political opponents of the government in jail, and protesters expect the most severe repression.That is why Venezuela is a living proof of why to attack trump, Bolsonaro and AMLO on the press should be taken very seriously. All the press — and one that has become a target, and that that patronage should strike back, including seeking justice in national and international courts. Journalists and representatives of other professions, such as academic organizations, can take initiatives at local level in order to protect the rights and freedoms of citizens and the media.In addition, can help NGOs — not just implicitly expressing their disagreement, but also collecting and publishing information about freedom of the press. Your contribution must be made by civil society, in a loud voice defending the media, for example in the form of citizens ‘ participation in joint initiatives with the media and their defenders.The enemy of a free press is the enemy of democracy. We can’t say we didn’t warn you.

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