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Banned from covering Trump-Kim dinner are reporters from the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, the Los Angeles Times and Reuters

White House bans four journalists from covering Trump-Kim dinner, SMH, By Philip Rucker and Josh Dawsey
February 28, 2019 Hanoi, The White House abruptly banned four US journalists from covering President Donald Trump’s dinner on Wednesday with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un after some of them shouted questions at the leaders during their earlier meetings.Reporters from the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, the Los Angeles Times and Reuters were excluded from covering the dinner because of what White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said were “sensitivities over shouted questions in the previous sprays”. Among the questions asked of Trump was one about the congressional testimony of his former lawyer, Michael Cohen.

The White House’s move to restrict press access was an extraordinary act of retaliation by the US government, which historically has upheld the rights of journalists while a president travels overseas. It was especially remarkable because it came during Trump’s meeting with the leader of a totalitarian state that does not have a free press.

Trump’s exchanges with Kim were being covered by the standard 13-member travelling White House press pool, but ahead of the dinner Sanders sought to exclude all reporters from the pool and permit only the photographers and television crew, citing “sensitivities over shouted questions in the previous sprays”.

After loud pushback, including from photojournalists who protested, Sanders allowed a single reporter in the pool for the dinner: Vivian Salama of the Wall Street Journal, who was serving as the print pooler and did not ask a question at the dinner. In addition, at least two members of the North Korean media contingent, a photographer and cameraman, were seen covering the dinner.

Reporters for the three wire services, as well as a second print pooler, were excluded. They included two journalists who had asked Trump questions in the earlier appearances: Jonathan Lemire of the AP and Jeff Mason of Reuters. Also excluded were Justin Sink of Bloomberg and Eli Stokols of the Los Angeles Times………..

Lauren Easton, a spokeswoman for the AP, said in a statement: “The Associated Press decries such efforts by the White House to restrict access to the president. It is critically important that any president uphold American press freedom standards, not only at home but especially while abroad.” .

…… Trump has long complained about reporters asking him questions at photo opportunities, especially when he is in the presence of foreign leaders, which aides have said he views as disrespectful and lacking in decorum. The White House occasionally has punished reporters for their questioning, including CNN’s Jim Acosta and Kaitlan Collins……https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/white-house-bans-four-journalists-from-covering-trump-kim-dinner-20190228-p510qg.html

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February 27, 2019 - Posted by | civil liberties, USA

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