The British foreign secretary on Tuesday condemned the attack on a BBC cameraman by a Trump supporter at a rally in Texas, linking the assault to the global trend of violence against journalists.
“It is never acceptable when journalists and cameramen are attacked just for doing their job,” Jeremy Hunt told Sky News.
“There is a broader issue here, which is that last year 80 journalists were killed across the world just for doing their job,” he added.
Cameraman Ron Skeans was shoved to the ground Monday night at the El Paso rally by a man wearing a “Make America Great Again” baseball hat and shouting “Fuck the media.” In his usual campaign-rally style, Trump had repeatedly attacked the “fake news” media over its perceived bias against him and his administration.
Hunt’s criticism came hours after the White House issued a condemnation of the attack at the event in El Paso.
“[Trump] condemns all acts of violence against any individual or group of people — including members of the press. We ask that anyone attending an event do so in a peaceful and respectful manner.”
But the BBC has called on the administration to do more to protect members of the press.
In a letter to Trump, the broadcaster said there was no security in place to protect press attendees and called for a “review of security arrangements.”
The BBC’s Washington bureau chief said no one from law enforcement intervened before, during or after the attack.
The White House News Photographers Association, of which Skeans is a member, also called on Trump, along with the Security Service to boost security measures.
The group also pointed out that it was Trump’s incessant attacks on the media — particularly at raucous, partisan rallies — that created the current situation.
“It’s outrageous that a journalist was attacked while covering a presidential speech,” Alexandra Ellerbeck, North American program coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists, said in a statement.
“We call on President Trump to moderate his rhetoric against the press and to state clearly that physically attacking media personnel is not acceptable.”
The identity of the man who attacked Skeans remains a mystery, but investigative website Bellingcat has launched a crowdsourced investigation to identify him.
The group has collected dozens of images and videos from live TV footage as well as social media platforms like Snapchat and Instagram and made it available publicly to help identify the suspect.
Cover image: A screengrab from one of the videos of the attacker being escorted away from the journalists.