Journalists around the world are being harassed, assaulted, and silenced for their reporting on COVID-19. Dictators and oppressive leaders have placed your right to information directly in their cross-hairs.
From Hungary passing a “coronavirus law” allowing Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to consolidate power and suffocate the press, to China expelling 13 U.S. foreign correspondents in an effort to censor information related to the pandemic, or police attacking a Chadian TV crew for covering coronavirus-related restrictions on public gatherings, the list of press freedom violations is growing longer by the hour.
That’s why RSF launched Tracker 19 — to evaluate the pandemic’s impact on journalism, including state censorship, the targeting of journalists, and the spread of misinformation related to the crisis.
In the United States, President Donald Trump is attacking journalists with insults and vitriol during his daily COVID-19 briefings to scapegoat the press and distract from his administration’s response to the pandemic. In the last few weeks, the president called Maggie Haberman of the New York Times a “third rate reporter who has nothing going,” ordered PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor to “be nice,” and told Fox News reporter Kristen Fisher she should say, “Congratulations, great job instead of being so horrid in the way you ask a question.”
Let’s keep this simple: The media’s role is neither to ask “nice” questions nor is it to offer “congratulations.” The job of journalists is to hold government officials accountable by asking life-saving questions that challenge them to tell the truth.
The vitriol with which President Trump speaks to journalists has angered Americans because throughout this crisis journalists have been tireless in their pursuit of the truth and courageous in the fight against this virus. RSF USA is standing up for them.
Independent journalism is one of the first lines of defense against the coronavirus, and now is the time to defend it. A donation to RSF USA — whether $5, $10 or $100 — ensures our ability to actively monitor your right to access reliable information during this pandemic.
We know times are hard, but we need your support. I hope you will make a donation to RSF USA today.