CNN’s chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour urged journalists Tuesday night to protect their profession from the “existential threat” of President-elect Donald Trump, who she implied might try to put the media in “cages.”
Citing Trump’s tweet about the media “inciting” some of the protests against him following the election, Amanpour warned gravely of authoritarian leaders who dismantle the free press and imprison journalists. She was accepting an award for her achievements on behalf of freedom of the press, and she drew a very firm line between Trump and oppressive leaders such as Russian President Vladimir Putin and the ayatollahs who took over Iran.
“I was chilled when the first tweet after the election was about ‘professional protesters incited by the media,'” she said, referring to Trump’s accusation that the media incited some of the protests over his election. “We’re not there. But postcard from the world: This is how it goes with authoritarians like Sisi, Erdoğan, Putin, the Ayatollahs, Duterte, et al.”
“As all the international journalists we honor in this room tonight and every year know only too well,” she continued. “First the media is accused of inciting, then sympathizing, then associating — until they suddenly find themselves accused of being full-fledged terrorists and subversives. Then they end up in handcuffs, in cages, in kangaroo courts, in prison — and then who knows?”
The press needs to avoid this fate, she warned, by covering Trump ruthlessly and standing up for themselves.
“Recommit to robust fact-based reporting without fear nor favor — on the issues,” she said. “Don’t stand for being labeled crooked or lying or failing. Do stand up together — for divided we will all fall.”
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