Human Rights Watch slams Trump’s campaign against his critics

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NEW YORK, Feb 27 (APP): A prominent US human rights group has criticized President Donald Trump for his campaign to discredit, harass, and intimidate” his critics, comparing the American leader to demagogues in other countries.
It’s now clear that one of Donald Trump’s top priorities as president is to discredit, harass, and intimidate his critics, or anyone who exposes how his administration is working.New York- based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a statement posted on its website.
Demagogues in other countries regularly use such tactics to silence critics and restrict the media’s ability to inform the public,said Maria McFarland Sanchez-Moreno, co-director of the US Programme at HRW.
Too often they have paved the road to even greater assaults on rights and democracy. Ultimately, the country as a whole, regardless of party affiliation, will lose if it continues,she said.
Trump has repeatedly attacked media organizations since coming into office, accusing some news outlets of spreading fake news.
On Friday, several news organizations, including CNN, the New York Times and the BBC were barred from a White House press briefing.
Trump has said his criticism of the media is protected by the First Amendment to the US Constitution. But there is a difference between protected speech and threats, intimidation, retaliation, and smear campaigns backed up by the power of the presidency,Sanchez-Moreno said.
“In human rights terms, while government leaders have a right to free expression, they also have a duty to protect it including for critical media to secure the public’s right to information,” she added.
In a Twitter message posted earlier this month, President Trump called a number of news organizations the “enemy of the American people.”