Echoes broader failure by the Trump administration to demonstrate a commitment to free and independent media
Says Markey, “Restricting the public’s access to information only foments distrust.”
Washington (March 10, 2017) – As Secretary of State Rex Tillerson prepares to travel to the Asia-Pacific region, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) called on the nation’s top diplomat to reverse his decision to make the trip without an accompanying press pool. In the letter, Senator Markey argues that traveling without reporters sends a dangerous signal to other countries about the U.S. commitment to a vibrant media, especially in China, which suffers from a lack of press freedoms. Senator Markey also points to the value of media coverage of upcoming meetings in Japan and South Korea to signal the strength of these critical Asia-Pacific alliances, especially in the face of North Korean provocations.
Until this week, the State Department had not held a single press briefing. Recently, when NBC News journalist Andrea Mitchell attempted to ask Secretary Tillerson questions about U.S. policy toward China and Russia, she was escorted out of the room. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer also selectively blocked a number of media outlets from attending a press briefing at the White House last month.
“The decision to exclude reporters from your trip falls into a broader pattern of efforts by the Trump administration to sideline and undermine the press,” said Senator Markey, top Democrat on the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “A robust and independent press is essential for informing the American people about U.S. foreign policy and holding the government accountable, and I urge you to reconsider your decision.”
A copy of Senator Markey’s letter can he found HERE.