The election of Donald Trump as president would represent "a threat to press freedom" in the United States, with damaging consequences for journalists worldwide, a media rights groups said Thursday.
The Committee to Protect Journalists said its board passed a resolution "declaring Trump an unprecedented threat to the rights of journalists and to CPJ`s ability to advocate for press freedom around the world."
The announcement comes as Trump`s war with the news media escalates, as the Republican nominee rejected reports of sexual misconduct as "outright lies."
CPJ board chairman Sandra Mims Rowe said in a statement that Trump, "through his words and actions as a candidate for president of the United States, has consistently betrayed First Amendment values," referencing the Constitution`s guarantee of a free press.
"Since the beginning of his candidacy, Trump has insulted and vilified the press and has made his opposition to the media a centerpiece of his campaign. Trump has routinely labeled the press as `dishonest` and `scum` and singled out individual news organizations and journalists," Rowe said.
"Through his words and actions, Trump has consistently demonstrated a contempt for the role of the press beyond offering publicity to him and advancing his interests."
Rowe said that any weakening of press freedom in the United States would have "far more serious" consequences for journalists elsewhere.
"Any failure of the United States to uphold its own standards emboldens dictators and despots to restrict the media in their own countries," she said.
"This appears to be of no concern to Trump, who indicated that he has no inclination to challenge governments on press freedom and the treatment of journalists."
Trump`s skirmishes with the media have intensified amid revelations over his apparent failure to pay taxes, and more recently, accounts claiming he sexually assaulted several women.
Some media outlets, toughening their stand, have called out Trump for "lies" and many traditionally conservative news organizations have either endorsed Democrat Hillary Clinton or called him "unfit" to be president.