Mayor defends commissioner’s exclusion of reporter
NEW YORK–Mayor Rudolph Giuliani defended the right of Police Commissioner Howard Safir to exclude certain members of the press from a group news briefing held in the commissioner’s office.
Safir banned police reporter John Marzulli of the New York Daily News from a press briefing in his office in early May because he was angry over an article in which Marzulli quoted a source who called the commissioner a “lightweight.”
Giuliani supported Safir’s claim that he has the right to exclude anyone that he wants from his private office, which is different from a general news conference. “This was a requested meeting,” Safir said at a news conference with the Mayor, “and I choose who should be there, and I will continue to.”
Reporters from The Associated Press, Long Island Newsday, the New York Post, and El Diario attended the briefing. Another Daily News reporter was invited after Marzulli was turned away, but did not attend in protest.
The Daily News threatened to sue the city unless all of its reporters are provided “free and total access to all press briefings,” reported the Associated Press. The New York Press Club and the New York Civil Liberties Union also protested the officials’ actions, citing violations of the First Amendment rights of reporters. The New York Press Club rescinded its offer to Safir to speak at an awards ceremony on May 23.