UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Al-Hussein on Wednesday warned that that derogatory remarks by U.S. President Donald Trump about journalists could amount to incitement and embolden followers to attack certain communities.
On Aug. 22 during a rally in Arizona, Trump accused the media of being “truly dishonest,” “fake,” “bad” and “crooked,” as well as of deepening divisions inside the country.
“I wish to also draw on president’s repeated attacks on three of the most respected news organisations in the world, The New York Times, The Washington Post and CNN, repeatedly referring to the organisations as liars, as crooks.
“Most recently in Arizona he went as far as to refer to journalists as ‘really, really dishonest people, bad people who don’t like our country’ … I believe it could amount to incitement,” he told a news conference.
Al-Hussein wondered whether such claims were not “incitement for others to attack journalists” and whether Trump would bear responsibility should a reporter from one of these organizations were harmed.
“It’s really quite amazing when you think that freedom of the press, not only sort of cornerstone of the U.S. Constitution but very much something that the United States defended over the years is now itself under attack from the President,” he added.
Ever since Trump assumed office, he has been lashing out at various mainstream media outlets calling them “fake news” over reports of his alleged connections to the Kremlin, his approval ratings as well as other issues.
Most recently, Trump slammed the country’s “dishonest” media outlets for misrepresenting his remarks, in which he condemned the activities of far-right groups after violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.