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McCain tells Trump to 'stop attacking press'

ANI | Updated: Jan 18, 2018 01:42 IST

Washington DC [United States], Jan 18 (ANI): Republican Senator John McCain has called on United States President Donald Trump to cease his attacks on the American press.

The Arizona Republican calls the Trump administration's attitude towards the press "inconsistent at best and hypocritical at worst," in Tuesday's op-ed published in the Washington Post, reports CNN.

"He has threatened to continue his attempt to discredit the free press by bestowing 'fake news awards' upon reporters and news outlets whose coverage he disagrees with," McCain wrote. "Whether Trump knows it or not, these efforts are being closely watched by foreign leaders who are already using his words as cover as they silence and shutter one of the key pillars of democracy," he wrote.

"While administration officials often condemn violence against reporters abroad, Trump continues his unrelenting attacks on the integrity of American journalists and news outlets. This has provided cover for repressive regimes to follow suit," he added.

"For decades, dissidents and human rights advocates have relied on independent investigations into government corruption to further their fight for freedom," McCain penned, "But constant cries of 'fake news' undercut this type of reporting and strip activists of one of their most powerful tools of dissent."

A staunch critic of Trump, McCain, has been away from Washington while recovering from cancer treatment in his home state of Arizona.

McCain underscored the rise in attacks on reporters internationally last year, which the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) declared one of the most dangerous years to be a journalist.

According to the CPJ, a record number of journalists were imprisoned last year and at least 44 were killed.

In addition to this, the number of journalists jailed for reporting "fake news" worldwide also doubled, reports the Independent. (ANI)