Archive for January 12th, 2018

Trump’s ‘war on media’ reverberates in Asia

Keith B. Richburg
Nikkei Asian Review
January 12, 2018

Region’s strongmen endanger prosperity with press crackdowns

Asia witnessed a particularly disturbing rollback in free expression last year amid escalating attacks on the media and harassment of journalists. And 2018 holds little promise for improvement.

One striking shift over the past year has been in the role of the United States under President Donald Trump. Once a staunch defender of media freedom, Washington can no longer be counted on to advocate for the rights of journalists worldwide. Trump, who has labeled U.S. reporters as “the enemy of the American people” and purveyors of “fake news,” has abrogated the president’s traditional role of standing up for the value of an independent press and the free flow of information.

Asia’s authoritarian leaders have begun to echo Trump’s cry of “fake news” to justify their crackdown on the media. From Beijing and Bangkok, to Phnom Penh and Naypyitaw, journalists have been jailed or subjected to violence, media outlets shuttered, and new restrictions imposed on reporters. This has happened without a word of concern, let alone condemnation, from the White House. In many cases, Asian leaders have echoed Trump’s words, with some, such as Cambodia’s Hun Sen, acting as if they had the U.S. president’s tacit support. Read the rest of this entry »