Donald Trump is serving as U.S. president for two years already.
It’s well known and observed that Trump bitterly criticizes the news media, especially in his speeches and press conferences.
As a result of this, journalists are facing death threats. In July, a man walked into a newsroom and killed five journalists and injured two others. This threatens freedom of press in United State of America.
I come from Myanmar, which is one of the least developed countries. Its democratic transition from dictatorship is still at the beginning. We look highly to the United State as role model in democracy, and the father of democracy.
The problem today is that many U.S. journalists are facing the same lack of trust and threats journalists face in countries like Myanmar. For instance, our government will say, “well, even the President of United State of America is not giving information or doing interviews, why should we do?”
In democratic countries, the news media serves as the fourth state – the platform to share information among legislative, administrative and judiciary sectors, and the public. This all done by ethical and professional journalists.
But U.S. journalists are facing challenges to get information in Trump era. I really worry that it will become like my country. Is the American Constitution really protecting the freedom of access to information and freedom of speech? Is the government really taking responsibility to grant people the right access to information?
Let’s discuss the changes in access to information in President Trump era.
- Condition of access to information
It was much easier to get information from authorities for U.S. journalists before because the government and politicians were willing to show their accountability to people. But these conditions changed in President Trump’s era, because he is holding a grudge against the media for criticizing him, even before becoming president. Now he is taking revenge as president.
As a result, he is giving hate speeches on the media and urging people to stay away from media. Also, he is threatening the media. He is trying to create animosity between people and the media. Some people are losing trust in the media and journalists are facing threats of being sued and attacked.
- Delay to get information
Nowadays, journalists likely will have to spend more effort to get information as it become difficult. So, U.S. journalists will become more like journalists in most of the ASEAN countries in which they are not getting information, there is no accountability, and there are unnecessary delays.
- Changing the media platform
Politically powerful people can no longer control the media platform any more. Now, via smartphones and social media (Facebook, twitter, etc..) everyone owns their own media. On the flow of changing, media platforms and journalists also have to change their ways of getting and collecting information.
For instance, Donald Trump is using his Twitter account to give information. Like him, other political leaders are also using social media. This will fade the role of media, because now powerful people have a way to spread information without talking to journalists, which also means they can easily avoid the questions journalists ask.