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January 17, 2018

Donald Trump and Xi Jinping ‘win’ Press Oppressors Awards handed out by press freedom group

By James Walker

Donald Trump, Xi Jinping and other world leaders have been named winners in the Press Oppressors Awards handed out by the Committee to Protect Journalists.

The CPJ launched the awards in response to President Trump’s announcement that he would give out “fake news” awards to publishers and broadcasters, which he is expected to unveil today.

The CPJ said: “Amid the public discourse of fake news and President Trump’s announcement via Twitter about his planned ‘fake news’ awards ceremony, CPJ is recognising world leaders who have gone out of their way to attack the press and undermine the norms that support freedom of the media.

“From an unparalleled fear of their critics and the truth, to a relentless commitment to censorship, these five leaders and the runner-ups in their categories have gone above and beyond to silence critical voices and weaken democracy.”

Trump has been awarded the Overall Achievement in Undermining Global Press Freedom Award for the use of his “fake news’ slur aimed at publishers and broadcasters in the US and because he has “declined to publicly raise freedom of the press with repressive leaders”.

The US Commander in Chief was also runner-up for the Most Thin-skinned award, which was given to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Under Erdogan some 150 journalists and media workers have been jailed and more than 180 media outlets have been closed by decree

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Erdogan also took the Most Outrageous Use of Terror Laws Against the Press prize having tried journalists under terrorism propaganda or incitement charges in relation to the failed coup attempt.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin battled it out for the Tightest Grip on Media award. Jinping came top because of China’s stringent control on most media outlets and the internet.

The CPJ also mentioned the country’s harassment of sources and foreign journalists. A BBC correspondent was famously blocked from speaking to a Chinese independent candidate in 2016.

North Korea and Eritrea were not included in the award because there is no independent media in either country.

The Biggest Backslider in Press Freedom award went to Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi following the arrest of two Reuters journalists who have been charged with breaching the country’s Official Secrets Act.

Picture: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

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