White House to limit press credentials to those who act 'professional'

"It is ironic that these modifications come shortly after President Biden declared that journalism is not a crime on World Press Freedom Day."

Joshua Young North Carolina

On Friday, the White House released a new set of rules for press badges, also known as hard passes, that stated the recipient must act in a "professional manner" in order to keep their badge and told all who currently possess a pass must reply by July 31.

The New York Post reports that the announcement said, "The White House expects that all hard pass holders will act in a professional manner while on White House grounds by respecting their colleagues, White House employees, and guests; observing stated restrictions on access to areas of the White House or credentialed events; and not impeding events or briefings on campus." 

"Absent security concerns involving the United States Secret Service or other exigent circumstances, the White House will provide a written warning to you if your conduct violates these expectations. Subsequent violations may lead to the suspension or revocation of your hard pass, following notice and an opportunity to respond," the notice continued.

The move comes after Today News Africa reporter Simon Ateba grilled Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre in January and told her, "You don't seem a good fit for this job."

Ateba spoke to the Daily Caller and said, "While I don’t feel upset that the White House is making changes due to my presence, it is ironic that these modifications come shortly after President Biden declared that journalism is not a crime on World Press Freedom Day. It appears that if you excel at your job, both the WHCA and the White House may work together to target you. This situation exacerbates the public’s lack of trust in the media and politicians in Washington."

Reporters who have had badges auto-renew since 2017 need to have their employer submit a letter to the White House confirming "full-time employment with an organization whose principal business is news dissemination." 

The notice said that freelancers, "will need letters from two news organizations describing your affiliation, or, if you freelance primarily for one organization, a letter from that organization describing the extent and duration of your relationship with the organization." 

The journalists need to provide proof of a personal or professional address in the DC area, submit to a background check, have an "accreditation by a press gallery in either the Supreme Court, US Senate or US. House of Representatives," and "have accessed the White House campus at least once during the prior six months for work, or have proof of employment within the last three months to cover the White House." 

A White House press official told the Post, "This has been thoughtfully considered for more than a year. We worked hard to be responsive to needs and feedback of journalists covering the White House. As we return to these prior criteria, which help ensure hard passes are in the hands of reporters who need regular access to campus as part of their duties, we are providing a nearly 3-month window for reporters to turn in their applications and reach out with any questions. The criteria will apply evenly to everyone," 


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