Former Fox News Channel anchor Shepard Smith has defended press freedom and announced he will donate $500,000 to the Committee to Protect Journalists, reports the Orlando Sentinel.
Smith last month abruptly quit Fox News, where he had worked since the channel started in 1996. He made his remarks last week as host of the 2019 International Press Freedom Awards in Manhattan.
The journalist affectionately known as "Shep" said looking at the current media landscape "can be depressing — it is for me."
He urged support for CPJ, a nonprofit that advocates for press freedoms. That support, he said, can counteract "corrosive forces eating away at our liberties."
Smith said: "We know that journalists are sometimes wary of being perceived as activists for some cause. But press freedom is not the preserve of one political group or one political party. It's a value embedded in our very foundational documents. Journalists need to join hands to defend it."
The awards honored journalists from Pakistan, Brazil, India, Nicaragua and Tanzania.
"Intimidation and vilification of the press is now a global phenomenon. We don't have to look far for evidence of that," Smith, 55, told the awards audience of journalists. His $500,000 announcement received a standing ovation.