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President Joe Biden praised the media in a statement on World Press Freedom Day Monday, saying: “We celebrate the courage of truth tellers who refuse to be intimidated, often to great personal risks, and we reaffirm the timeless and essential role of journalism as a free media game in societies around the world.
Former President Donald Trump, for his part, sent this missive Monday morning: “The fraudulent presidential election of 2020 will be, from this day, known as THE BIG LIE!”
World Press Freedom Day, declared by the United Nations General Assembly, aims to raise awareness of the importance of a free press and to urge governments around the world to respect the right to freedom of the press. ‘expression.
Today marks the anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration of 1991, a declaration of principles for a free press developed by a group of African newspaper journalists in Namibia.
The declaration declares that “the establishment, maintenance and promotion of an independent, pluralist and free press are essential for the development and maintenance of democracy in a nation and for economic development”.
Mr. Biden went on to say that “journalists find out the truth, verify abuses of power and demand transparency from those in power”, adding that journalists are “indispensable to the functioning of democracy”.
The president noted that during the pandemic, those employed in the media were “on the front lines of keeping the public informed, at significant risk to their own health.”
Comments from the current and former president were also very different on World Press Freedom Day last year.
Mr Biden, then a presumed Democratic Party candidate, sent a statement on May 3, 2020, praising reporters for “supporting free and open democracies, here at home and around the world.”
Meanwhile, President Trump started the day last year by tweeting, “Fake news doesn’t show real polls. Lamestream Media is totally CORRUPT, the enemy of the people! “
Speaking at a Fox News town hall later the evening of May 3, 2020, Mr. Trump said, “You see it: 94 or 95% of the press is hostile. We have huge support, but the media might as well be part of the Democratic Party.
Mr. Biden lambasted Mr. Trump at the time, issuing a statement accusing Mr. Trump of launching “a total attack on the media.”
“Donald Trump’s repeated efforts to demonize the media put us on such a dangerous path. While many presidents have been unhappy with their media coverage, only Donald Trump has attacked the independence of journalists and launched a total attack on the media, ”Biden said a year ago.
He then promised that there would be “no intimidation of the media from the podium of the press room or by tweet”, if he were to win the presidency.
Speaking about the press strategy of the new Biden administration, deputy director of communications Kate Berner told Politico last month: “Our communications strategy is based on innovation in the digital space, flooding the area of the world. regional press and coalitions, and effectively using traditional national media. “
Mr Biden has been criticized for not talking to reporters enough.
Ms Berner added: “He’s the president, he has a lot to do. We have people deploying themselves on different media every day to amplify his message. We don’t let his schedule be a limiting factor for us. We use the Cabinet, they are experts in their field. They also have an audience that they can address in a unique way. “
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