US press freedom an illusion, used to mask selfish interests

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By Mu Lu Source:Global Times

A screenshot of VOA report

The Voice of America (VOA)’s two top editors, Amanda Bennett and Sandra Sugawara, resigned on Monday due to concerns over their editorial independence, putting a stop to the months-long clash between the outlet and the White House.

Freedom of the press has long been a political tool of Washington to attack the countries that the US doesn’t like. However, press freedom in the US is deplorable.

The hypocrisy of the US’ so-called press freedom has become more obvious since Donald Trump took office. Given that the US media outlets strive for the interests of different political groups, the so-called freedom of the press is only an illusion.

There are many examples of the US government trampling on the press. The White House launched extraordinary attacks on the VOA on April 10, saying the federally funded mouthpiece had promoted “Chinese propaganda” in calling Chinese city Wuhan’s lockdown a successful model emulated by much of the world in battling COVID-19. Even worse, in late April, the White House ordered the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s media relations office to deny any media request from “anyone affiliated with the Voice of America,” the VOA reported on Monday.

In this context, there is hardly any press freedom in the US, but rather voices that represent different political forces driven by the interests of political groups. And how are media professionals treated in the US? People have found out the answer from the ongoing protests: Over 140 journalists have been arrested or attacked by law enforcement as of June 8. It is really difficult to stop people from wondering about the authenticity of the US’ so-called freedom of the press.

What is certain is this is a tool of the US to attack hostile countries. In 2017, Russian television group RT was banned from covering the US Congress due to the alleged Russiagate. In February 2020, amid escalating US-China tensions, the US designated five Chinese media companies as “foreign missions,” while in June, the US reportedly was considering adding another five Chinese media outlets to the list.

The US government merely accepts media that meets its interests and requirements. Media outlets that represent different viewpoints and ideologies enjoy no freedom, but are extremely suppressed and limited in the world’s most powerful country. Is this deplorable reality of the press freedom protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution?

Washington is the master of veneering its selfish pursuit of national interests with hypocrisy and morality, and press freedom is the cover the US uses to beautify its ugly, unfair moves.

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