Statement by CWA Canada President Martin O’Hanlon on Press Freedom:
Today, more than 350 American news publications spoke out against U.S. President Donald Trump’s disturbing verbal attacks on the media and press freedom.
Our sister union in the U.S., The NewsGuild-CWA, joined in the campaign, warning that Trump’s “reckless and endangering” words have consequences and will result in physical attacks on journalists.
We at CWA Canada, which represents 6,000 media workers across the country, stand shoulder to shoulder with our colleagues south of the border in defence of press freedom — a vital pillar of democracy.
Trump’s inflammatory and hateful anti-media rhetoric is not normal. It is dangerous. His language is that of a dictator, not of a democratic leader.
We are feeling the effects here in Canada as he emboldens not only right-wing radicals and others who despise a free press, but even some politicians and their supporters. We have seen a clear disdain for the press from Ontario’s new premier and his supporters who recently drowned out reporters’ questions at a public event by clapping over them. We must make it clear that such behaviour is not acceptable.
Democracy and freedom are fragile and precious — and they are under attack around the globe. More and more governments are cracking down on freedom of expression. Even formerly progressive countries like Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Turkey are now openly hostile to the media, and in the case of Turkey, hundreds of journalists are in jail.
Everyone, not just journalists, must rebuke Trump and his ilk in the strongest terms.
As journalism goes, so goes democracy.
Toronto Star | Attacks on the Press Must Be Challenged No Matter Their Form