Trump and Putin re­minded about free­dom of press

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Dur­ing Don­ald Trump and Vladimir Putin meet­ing in Helsinki back in July, Fin­land’s largest news­pa­per has put up 300 out­door posters in English and Rus­sian on the route from the air­port to the sum­mit—all ad­vo­cat­ing for the free­dom of the press, which both world lead­ers are known to of­ten den­i­grate. Cre­ated by Tbwa\helsinki for Fin­land’s largest news­pa­per Helsin­gin Sanomat, these posters aim to bring at­ten­tion to their “turbulent re­la­tions with the press.” All ex­e­cu­tions fea­ture head­lines from past ar­ti­cles pub­lished in the Fin­nish news­pa­per be­tween 2000 and 2018 with hopes that this will “re­mind them [Putin and Trump] of the im­por­tance of free press as a cor­ner­stone of all demo­cratic so­ci­eties”. One of the poster reads: “Mr. Pres­i­dent, wel­come to the land of free press.”one poster, with a head­line from 2004, reads in Rus­sian: “Rus­sian re­porter who crit­i­cized Putin gains asy­lum in Bri­tain.” Other head­lines in­clude “Trump calls me­dia en­emy of the peo­ple”,“putin shuts down Rus­sia’s largest news agency”, and “Putin is try­ing again to bring the me­dia to heel.” Ac­cord­ing to Kaius Nieme, se­nior edi­tor-in-chief of Helsin­gin Sanomat, the cam­paign’s goal is to “raise the topic of the free­dom of the press around the world.” “This is a state­ment on be­half of crit­i­cal and high qual­ity jour­nal­ism,” Nieme wrote in the press re­lease. “As we wel­come the pres­i­dents to the sum­mit in Fin­land, we want to re­mind them of the im­por­tance of free press. The me­dia shouldn’t be the lap dog of any pres­i­dent or regime.” “We want to show our sup­port to those col­leagues who have to fight in ever tough­en­ing cir­cum­stances on a daily ba­sis, both in the U.S. and Rus­sia,” Nieme con­tin­ued. Rus­sia ranks 148th out of 180 coun­tries in the Re­porters Without Bor­ders World Press Free­dom In­dex. The U.S. ranks 45th, bet­ter than Rus­sia but hardly ex­em­plary.

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