President Joe Biden is failing on his promise of transparency, said the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), condemning his policy of denying access to the US-Mexico border to members of the media.
It is “crucial” that journalists be given “unfettered access” to the border to inform the public of what is happening there, the SPJ said in a statement on Tuesday, condemning the “tactics” of the Biden administration that resulted in effective restrictions on reporting.
Biden “promised both a more humane approach to immigration and more transparency than his predecessor,” said SPJ National President Matthew T. Hall, adding that his administration’s “refusal to let journalists fully observe and assess the growing humanitarian crisis at the border… shows he is failing on both promises.”
“@POTUS promised both a more humane approach to immigration and more transparency than his predecessor. His admin’s refusal to let journalists fully observe and assess the growing humanitarian crisis at the border…shows he is failing on both promises.” https://t.co/dJOWmIzXTM
— Society of Professional Journalists (@spj_tweets) March 23, 2021
The SPJ urges Biden and his administration “to let journalists do their job by granting them access to facilities along the border” as well as interviews with officials “who know and can accurately convey to the public what is going on.”
The society, which began in 1909 as a student fraternity and evolved into a national professional organization by the 1960s, said it intends to join other groups in sending a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas later this week, demanding media access to the border.
While the government has cited the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to keep reporters at bay, the letter will point out that the First Amendment – which protects freedom of the press, among other things – “is not suspended during public emergencies and the coronavirus pandemic is not an exception,” the SPJ said.
This is the first major instance of media backlash against the Biden administration after months of the Democrat enjoying an exceedingly friendly and downright cheerleader relationship with the press, in marked contrast with his predecessor Donald Trump.
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