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The White House must give the press equal treatment

In response to the White House's decision to exclude certain news organizations from an informal news briefing last week, the Canadian Association of Journalists is publishing an open letter, which you can read in its entirety below.

RE: The White House’s relationship with the press corps

The Canadian Association of Journalists adds its voice to those gravely concerned about President Donald Trump’s lack of respect for a free press. The President’s dangerous disregard for a free press started with tweets berating certain news organizations, and escalated recently when those same news outlets, and others, were barred from an informal press briefing.

Many of the CAJ’s members reported the news when former prime minister Stephen Harper attempted to manipulate, shut out, and ultimately bypass journalists both in the nation’s capital and across Canada. Harper’s approach to the press sometimes divided journalists, at least to some extent, as they reacted to rules imposed on the prime minister’s press availabilities.

We don’t intend to dredge up the past. But the CAJ urges Trump’s administration to offer equal treatment to every member of the White House press corps, and further to make no attempt to restrict a free press. We also urge every news organization to resist any government’s attempt—on both sides of the border—to divide the press or play favourites.

News organizations thrive on competition, but we’re worse off when we’re divided at the whim of a politician who decides, based on a desire to protect his own interests, that we don’t all have an equal right to report on his leadership.

Sincerely,

Nick Taylor-Vaisey
President, Canadian Association of Journalists

 

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