More than a hundred Univision News journalists have signed an open letter to presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump condemning his “unprecedented and dangerous” revocation of press credentials for The Washington Post.
Trump revoked the Post’s press credentials after the paper published an article highlighting comments Trump had made linking President Obama to the June 12 massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando, FL. Univision News reacted with an open letter to the candidate on June 14, echoing the sentiments of several other media outlets and journalists by condemning what the letter’s signatories describe as an “unprecedented and dangerous” action:
Your action is unprecedented and dangerous. Mainstream press organizations in the United States are always granted access to presidential candidates events. Never before have so many of them been denied this access.
Candidates for public office in the United States have always accepted that some of the news coverage they receive will be critical. Candidates often answer unfavorable coverage, arguing that it was inaccurate or unfair. What they don't do – not in the United States – is attempt to obstruct coverage by denying press organizations access to campaign events. There are too many places in the world where political figures use whatever is at their disposal to punish and silence unfavorable news coverage. The U.S. is not one of those places
Hispanic media has a reason to be concerned about threats to free press. Such threats -- whether by criminal organizations or public authorities -- have been on the rise in Latin America. According to Freedom House, “criminal gangs and overweening authorities” were major threats to media in Latin America in 2015. While interviewing The Washington Post’s executive editor, Marty Baron, back in May, Univision’s Enrique Acevedo asked whether he had any concerns that “during a Trump administration” there would be “issues related to freedom of the press in this country.” Baron responded, “I am concerned,”, noting that Trump was “sounding a lot like Hugo Chavez in Venezuela on the issue of the press:”
Baron is not the only journalist to liken Trump’s battles with news media and blacklisting of reporters to the anti-free-press antics of dictatorial regimes. After he was booted from a Trump press conference in August, Univision’s Jorge Ramos drew a parallel between Trump and Fidel Castro’s treatment of the press, saying: “I thought that was impossible that I would ever see something like that in the United States, which is a direct attack on freedom of the press.”