Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Journalists' dinner should honor killed colleagues, columnist writes; tomorrow is World Press Freedom Day

As President Trump tries to discredit the free press with cries of "fake news" after making 3,001 false or misleading claims while in office, as the U.S. fails to protest the abuse of journalists overseas, and as more and more journalists are killed abroad and jailed or subpoenaed here in the U.S., the spectacle of the chummy White House Correspondents' Association dinner "ought to shame Washington media," columnist Dana Milbank writes in The Washington Post.

Milbank suggests moving the dinner to coincide with the World Press Freedom Day, which is tomorrow, May 3. WPFD is a United Nations-created observation meant to celebrate the principles of press freedom, reflect on the state of it around the world, defend the news media from attacks on their independence, and honor journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

In Millbank's reconceived WHCA dinner, which is a fund-raiser for journalism scholarships, there would be no comedians. Instead, hosts would read the names of journalists killed or jailed that year while doing their jobs. Media companies and politicians would give money to groups that protect the free press and solicit donations from others. They'd also pledge to write and air more stories about American and global abuses of press freedoms.

"We should all pledge to be unabashed advocates: to shine light on the journalists languishing in prisons, the unsolved murders of journalists and the erosion of press freedom at home," Millbank writes. "Maybe Trump would boycott and ridicule such an event. Fine. It will be clear to everyone exactly where he stands — and where we do."

Some events for World Press Freedom Day are held on other days. Here's one:

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