UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein [official profile] said Wednesday that US President Donald Trump’s constant criticism of journalists constitutes an attack on the freedom of the press. “It’s really quite amazing when you think that freedom of the press, not only sort of a cornerstone of the U.S. Constitution but very much something that the United States defended over the years is now itself under attack from the President.” Specifically referring to Trump’s “fake news” criticism, Zeid claimed that such criticism does damage not only to the news organizations as a whole but also to the individual journalists. The High Commissioner was also concerned that the rampant criticism of journalists could ultimately incite violence against the journalists in the US. The White House did not respond to Zeid’s comments about Trump’s alleged attack on the freedom of the press.
Trump’s presidency has been riddled with controversy since his inauguration in January. Earlier this week a three-judge panel questioned [JURIST report] a Justice Department lawyer in a hearing regarding Trump’s controversial travel ban. Also this week two separate lawsuits were filed [JURIST report] challenging Trump’s recent decision to reinstate a ban prohibiting transgender individuals from serving in the US military. In July two Democratic lawmakers filed [JURIST report] an article of impeachment against Trump accusing him of an obstruction of justice regarding the Russia probe. Days earlier in July a group of Twitter users sued [JURIST report] Trump for a violation of their First Amendment rights after they were blocked by Trump on Twitter. In June former FBI Director James Comey testified against the Trump administration [JURIST report] after he was fired from his position by Trump. In May Former FBI Director Robert Mueller was appointed as special counsel [JURIST report] to lead the investigation regarding Russia’s involvement in the 2016 Presidential Election.