The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has declared Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump a threat to press freedoms.
“Donald Trump, through his words and actions as a candidate for president of the US, has consistently betrayed First Amendment values,” CPJ’s board chairwoman Sandra Mims Rowe said.
Rowe flayed Trump “for his virulent anti-media rhetoric and actions”.
At a rally in Florida on Thursday, Trump railed against the media, saying they were working with Democratic rival Hillary Clinton’s campaign to defeat him.
He declared that he was preparing to sue the New York Times because they published accounts of women who accused the Manhattan billionaire of inappropriately groping them, Politico reported.
“Corporate media is no longer involved in journalism. They’re a political special interest no different than any lobbyist with a total political agenda,” the Republican nominee said.
The CPJ statement said: “Since the beginning of his candidacy, Trump has insulted and vilified the press and has made his opposition to the media a centrepiece of his campaign.”
It cited an incident in November last year when Trump mocked a disabled New York Times journalist by imitating him on stage at a rally. Trump has denied he was imitating the reporter.
“A Trump presidency would represent a threat to press freedom in the US, but the consequences for the rights of journalists around the world could be far more serious,” Rowe said.
“Any failure of the US to uphold its own standards emboldens dictators and despots to restrict the media in their own countries,” it added.