From Princely Onyenwe
Alarm raised by African- American based journalist, Simon Ateba has continued to gather momentum as against what the Whitehouse press freedom is aimed at. The recent shuffle on hard pass introduced by Biden’s administration does not guarantee the freedom of press in America as reported.
In his recent tweet, the renowned Journalist Simon Ateba hinted that United States Government has tempered the wholesome independence of the Press targetted at a closedown of News organisations towards the preparation for the July 31st US Presidential Election.
He cried out publicly stating that though he has every necessary documents to practice his journalism in America having came from the African background, such a review of hard pass is an indirect ploy to revise the rule and stop him from Whitehouse reportage.
“As you may be aware, the @JoeBiden @WhiteHouse and @PressSec office are revising the press hard pass rules, which several publications have reported specifically target me, an African journalist who has gained recognition across the United States for merely doing my job.
“The changes are set to take effect on July 31. Numerous publications have reported that the new rules seem to be aimed at Simon Ateba.
“While I don’t feel upset that the entire White House rules are being amended due to my presence, it is ironic that these alterations come shortly after President Biden’s statement on World Press Freedom Day, declaring that journalism is not a crime.
“It seems that if you genuinely excel at your job, the @whca and the @WhiteHouse will join forces to target you.
“This situation contributes to the lack of trust that the American public has in the media and politicians in Washington.
“I am uncertain about who will be president on July 31 or who will win the next election, but that shouldn’t be a factor.
“At present, other journalists remain silent, believing that the rules only target me; however, these regulations may soon be used against them as well.
“When a new administration assumes power, they might forget that it was their predecessors who altered the rules, making it easier to target journalists and complicating the hard pass process.
According to the new rules, news organizations must be independent. Yet, I am unaware of any truly independent individuals present in the White House press corps, and I know several who work for government-funded outlets.
Simon Ateba further added that the WhiteHouse is changing the rules for press hard passes to target me. But I qualify for all those things as we just filed our taxes, are registered with the District of Columbia and have our address in DC.
“I studied journalism in college, received two degrees, have only worked as a journalist and trained countless people. I also attend briefings religiously and do not have a second job. It’s crazy what’s going on. How can a guy come from Africa and you have to change the rules because of him?
In furtherance, The White House has written a letter informing practitioners to adhere to the new rule.
“We are writing to inform you that the White House intends to revise the policy on press hard passes to be consistent with that of prior administrations.
Under the policy, all current press hard passes will expire on July 31. You will be able to request renewal of your current hard pass as described below, and any renewed passes will remain valid for one year, subject to annual renewal.
“To renew your pass, your bureau chief/supervisor will need to email a letter to email@example.com.
Your news organization will not need to submit multiple letters if requesting hard passes for more than one employee as long as your letter covers all employees requesting hard pass access to the White House campus.
“This letter will need to be written on the official letterhead of your news organization, including contact information for someone who can verify the details provided below, and indicate that each applicant meets the following requirements:
“Full-time employment with an organization whose principal business is news dissemination (If you are freelance, we will need letters from two news organizations describing your affiliation, or, if you freelance primarily for one organization, a letter from that organization describing the extent and duration of your relationship with the organization);
“Physical address (either residential or professional) in the greater Washington, D.C. area;
Have accessed the White House campus at least once during the prior six months for work, or have proof of employment within the last three months to cover the White House;
“Assignment to cover (or provide technical support in covering) the White House on a regular basis;
“Accreditation by a press gallery in either the Supreme Court, U.S. Senate or U.S. House of Representatives; and Willingness to submit to any necessary investigation by the U.S. Secret Service to determine eligibility for access to the White House complex, where Secret Service will determine eligibility based on whether the applicant presents a potential risk to the safety or security of the President, the Vice President, or the White House complex.
“This letter should be attached, along with a photograph or scan of a Supreme Court, Senate, or House of Representatives credential, and the completed hard pass application and submitted at one time to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“After receiving the letter from your supervisor and updating your background check, the U.S. Secret Service will grant a hard pass upon confirmation from the Press Office that you meet the above criteria. You will not need to receive a new physical pass if you already have one.
“If you currently do not have a hard pass, you will need to complete the standard application and also provide the letter stated above. The Press Office will then be in touch to schedule a time to pick up your hard pass if approved.
“The White House expects that all hard pass holders will act in a professional manner while on White House grounds by respecting their colleagues, White House employees, and guests; observing stated restrictions on access to areas of the White House or credentialed events; and not impeding events or briefings on campus.
Absent security concerns involving the United States Secret Service or other exigent circumstances, the White House will provide a written warning to you if your conduct violates these expectations.
Subsequent violations may lead to the suspension or revocation of your hard pass, following notice and an opportunity to respond.
If you have comments or questions regarding this proposed policy, please submit them to email@example.com no later than May 15.
“Please let us know if you have any questions.
“The White House Press Office as tweeted.
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