Media organizations oppose limits on photo access at the White House

Latara Appleby | Content Regulation | News | November 21, 2013

Thirty eight media organizations, including the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, joined a letter opposing the limits on photographers' access to White House events today.

The move was prompted by the White House's refusal to allow press photographers to cover events and instead distribute "visual press releases" taken by government employees.

“As surely as if they were placing a hand over a journalist’s camera lens, officials in this administration are blocking the public from having an independent view of important functions of the Executive Branch of government,” the letter read.

The letter emphasized that the signatories are seeking access to activities that are of a “fundamentally public nature” and not private moments. The letter listed events where photographers were not allowed but a photo taken by the White House photographer was released afterward.

The letter called the restriction “arbitrary restraint and unwarranted interference on legitimate newsgathering activities,” as well as noting that it is a departure from how past administrations operated.

Other organizations that signed onto the letter include The Associated Press, National Press Photographers Association, American Society of News Editors, The Washington Post and The New York Times.