British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt condemned a violent attack by a Donald Trump supporter on a BBC cameraman at an El Paso, Texas, rally on Monday. Hunt linked the violence to a troubling surge in fatal assaults against journalists, whom he praised as the “invisible line between open and closed societies.”
A man wearing a red “Make America great again” cap was captured on video attacking BBC cameraman Ron Skeans at the rally before he was pulled off the journalist. Ironically, the MAGA violence erupted at a rally where Trump talked of improving safety in the nation.
“It is never acceptable when journalists and cameramen are attacked just for doing their job,” Hunt said Tuesday on Sky News. “There is a broader issue here, which is that last year 80 journalists were killed across the world just doing their job.” (Hunt addresses the incident in the video here at 8:33.)
“We are very worried about this because freedom of the press is the invisible line between open societies and closed societies. It’s very, very important that we protect the ability of journalists to do their jobs.”
Hunt added, in an apparent reference to America: “We have to make sure that it’s not acceptable anywhere in the world for journalists to be impeded from doing what they should do, which is to tell the public exactly what’s going on and hold power to account.”
Unlike Hunt, Trump frequently slams the press as the “enemy of the people.”
Last year Trump praised Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-Mont.), who body-slammed a Guardian reporter after the journalist asked Gianforte a question about health care on the eve of his election victory. “Any guy who can do a body slam, he is my type,” Trump said in a speech at a Gianforte re-election rally last fall, triggering outraged criticism. “He’s a great guy, a tough cookie,” Trump added.
At his own campaign rally in 2016, Trump encouraged supporters to attack protesters. “If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you?” he said. “Just knock the hell … I promise you I will pay for the legal fees.”
Gary O’Donoghue, the Washington correspondent for the British public service broadcaster, called the attack on Skeans “incredibly violent.” He complained that the “goading of the crowds against the media” is “a constant feature” of Trump’s rallies.
This is the shameful moment when my cameraman Ron Skeans was attacked at an @realDonaldTrump rally in El Paso last night – warning this video contains strong language. Happily Ron is fine. #TrumpElPaso12.3K7:13 AM – Feb 12, 201910.3K people are talking about thisTwitter Ads info and privacy
Following the attack, the BBC wrote a letter to the White House demanding a “review of security arrangements” for media covering Trump’s rallies.
The White House News Photographers Association also condemned the attack. “Given that the president’s rhetoric about journalists is too often false and derogatory, we ask that he refrain from unnecessarily targeting journalists with his speech since such rhetoric may be inciting violent acts such as this one,” the association said in a statement.
Violence against journalists worldwide is going up and is a grave threat to freedom of expression,” Mr Hunt said on Twitter. “If media reports prove correct, we will treat the incident seriously — friendships depend on shared values; British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt
Turkish officials accuse Saudi Arabia of murdering Khashoggi, 59,…
During a trip to the region that includes a visit to the United Arab Emirates, Hunt will also seek to build support for UN efforts to end the conflict in Yemen, the Foreign Office said.
His visit comes amid an international diplomatic crisis over the murder of Saudi journalist Khashoggi, a US resident, at his country’s consulate in Istanbul in October.
“The international community remain united in horror and outrage at the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi one month ago,” said Hunt, who will also meet Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir.
“It is clearly unacceptable that the full circumstances behind his murder still remain unclear.
“We encourage the Saudi authorities to co-operate fully with the Turkish investigation into his death, so that we deliver justice for his family and the watching world.”
During his brief visit to the Gulf, Hunt will also meet Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Yemeni Vice President Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar and Yemeni Foreign Minister Khaled al-Yamani.
Britain is seeking support among regional partners for new action at the UN Security Council for peace talks in Yemen. Continue reading →
Brexit minister Dominic Raab said earlier in a letter to a lawmaker that he expected a deal to be finalised by Nov. 21, but his department said on Wednesday that there was no set date for EU negotiations to end.
“I think it is entirely possible that we could make enough progress by then,” Hunt said in response to a question about Raab’s letter following a speech at Policy Exchange in London, adding that outstanding issues could be resolved.
“I think that although there is a degree of doom and gloom about the Brexit talks at the moment, the fact that we have got to this stage… is broadly encouraging.”
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©(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan, writing by Alistair Smout; editing by David Stamp)