President Donald Trump’s administration has been working to restrict the press in states around the country in an effort to keep the country’s reputation for transparency, while trying to preserve a tradition of free speech for the American people.
The Trump administration announced Tuesday that it is cracking down on the press, including on Twitter, which it said was the subject of “vicious, dishonest and misleading propaganda.”
Trump’s press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, told reporters the White House is targeting media outlets with “fake news” as part of an effort “to silence the free press”.
“There is no place for false reporting in our democracy,” she said.
“We’re targeting those that are reporting falsehoods that are not true, and are not fact-based,” Grishamp added.
“The administration will continue to pursue any and all means necessary to keep Americans safe and keep our democracy a place where the American public can participate.”
Trump, who has faced repeated criticism for his handling of the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend, announced his intention to remove reporters from the White Houses press briefings in April, after they reported on a visit from former president Richard Nixon.
Trump has also used the press to pressure reporters, who are often subject to harsh and often inaccurate criticism from the president.
Trump has used Twitter to threaten to revoke the credentials of the Associated Press and CNN, while calling the media “failing” and “fake”.
The White House also announced Tuesday it would “hold a press conference” to discuss the matter.
Trump, in a speech in January, called the press “the enemy of the people”, saying the “vile and repugnant” propaganda being spread by the press is “unacceptable” and that “the American people are tired of it.”
The administration’s decision comes amid an intensifying push by the president to punish journalists, after the media has repeatedly questioned the president’s assertion that he was “totally against the death penalty” and his decision to pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement.
In addition to the Twitter crackdown, Trump’s Justice Department is reviewing an attempt to block a lawsuit filed by a journalist who says he was unlawfully detained in January.
The White Houses lawyers have also asked the court to deny a motion to dismiss a defamation lawsuit filed on behalf of a reporter who was threatened with deportation for refusing to drop a bombshell report.
Trump on Tuesday also threatened to withhold federal funding from news organizations that don’t toe his administration’s line on free speech.
The Justice Department, which is investigating alleged violations of the US Constitution, said in a statement that it “takes seriously its obligation to protect the First Amendment freedoms of the press and other First Amendment rights”.
In the wake of the Charlottesville violence, the WhiteHouse launched a media boycott of all media outlets that covered the violence.
In Alabama, the Alabama Press Association announced the creation of a task force to investigate allegations of bias and bias-related harassment by the state’s Democratic governor, Robert Bentley.
The task force will also be looking into the allegations of voter suppression and voter intimidation by the Republican-dominated legislature, as well as alleged voter intimidation and voter suppression by the local Republican Party, the state party and the Democratic party.
A spokesman for the Alabama Democratic Party said that while the Democratic Party has been “working diligently to ensure that the Alabama press corps has access to information and the opportunity to report on Alabama issues,” the party “strongly condemns” the actions of Bentley’s office.
“This is a step in a long, overdue investigation that will ensure that all of our reporters are treated fairly and equally,” the spokesman, Michael Stearns, told Al Jazeera.
“There’s a need to bring all of the facts to light.
It’s time for this to stop.””
It’s a step that has been in the works for a long time,” he said.
“The Republican Party has long supported a fair process in Alabama.”
The state’s Republican Party chairman, Tom Newby, said that the state has a long history of transparency, but “we will continue our work to ensure the right of all citizens to report.”
Newby, who is also the state treasurer, also said that Bentley “has a history of engaging in voter suppression tactics and he is not above exercising his power to intimidate and silence reporters that disagree with him”.
Bentley’s office did not immediately respond to Al Jazeera’s request for comment.