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Reporters Committee: White House must restore Brian Karem’s credentials

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  1. Newsgathering
First Amendment and due process require the White House restore Playboy correspondent’s credentials, RCFP argues.
Photo of the White House press briefing room lectern with White House seal and American flag.
(Photo / Daniel Huizinga)

On Aug. 20, journalist Brian Karem, the White House correspondent for Playboy, filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump and White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham asking the federal district court in Washington, D.C., to vacate the White House’s 30-day suspension of his hard pass and order that it be immediately restored.

Today, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of Karem, arguing that the White House must provide meaningful due process before denying, suspending, or revoking a journalist’s security credentials, and failure to do so in this case violates settled law in the D.C. Circuit and constitutional protections guaranteeing the flow of information to the public.

“The White House cannot suspend or revoke journalists’ credentials without due process, based on vague standards that have never been publicly articulated,” said Bruce Brown, executive director of the Reporters Committee. “Under clear legal precedent, Mr. Karem’s credentials must be restored.”

Before the White House had made its final determination to suspend Karem’s hard pass on Aug. 16, the Reporters Committee issued a statement expressing its concern over the “preliminary decision” to suspend his hard pass and reiterated its commitment to ensuring that journalists have the access needed to do their jobs effectively.

In November 2018, the Reporters Committee also filed a friend-of the-court brief alongside Georgetown Law’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection in support of a lawsuit brought by CNN and the network’s chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, after the White House revoked Acosta’s hard pass. On Nov. 16, a federal judge ordered the White House to reinstate Acosta’s credentials.

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