The highest-ranking U.N. human rights official is warning U.S. President Donald Trump’s repeated criticisms of the news media could incite violence against journalists.
Trump has regularly attacked major news organizations like The New York Times, The Washington Post and CNN, including earlier this month when he criticized news organizations for their coverage of a violent rally organized by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, calling the journalists “truly dishonest people.”
U.N. Higher Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said Wednesday in Geneva, “To call these news organizations fake does tremendous damage, and to refer to individual journalists in this way, I have to ask the question, is this not an incitement for others to attack journalists?”
“And lets assume a journalist is harmed from one of these organizations,” al-Hussein said. “Does the president then not bear responsibility for this?”
Al-Hussein’s remarks also called the violence at the rally in Charlottesville earlier this month, during which counter-protestor was killed, an “abomination.”
He also expressed concern over Trump’s pardoning Friday of controversial sheriff Joe Arpaio, who had been convicted of intentionally disobeying a federal judge’s 2011 order to halt his traffic controls that targeted immigrants.