NEW YORK, February 24, 2017—The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by the decision today to bar nine news outlets from an informal briefing known as “a gaggle” by President Donald Trump’s White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. Separately, at the Conservative Party Action Conference in Maryland today, Trump said that journalists should not be allowed to use anonymous sources, and accused the press of producing “fake news,” according to reports.
“President Trump’s calls for an end to anonymous sources was alarming. It is not the job of political leaders to determine how journalists should conduct their work, and sets a terrible example for the rest of the world, where sources often must remain anonymous to preserve their own lives,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “We are concerned by the decision to bar reporters from a press secretary briefing. The U.S. should be promoting press freedom and access to information.”
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Aides to the press secretary denied access to reporters from CNN, The New York Times, Politico, The Hill, the BBC, the Daily Mail, Buzzfeed, the Los Angeles Times, and New York Daily News, saying that only those previously confirmed could attend the briefing, The New York Times reported. An administration spokesperson said in a statement that a press pool was in place for the informal briefing, which was taking in a smaller office that the regular briefings. Reporters from The Associated Press and Time Magazine boycotted the briefing in solidarity with their colleagues.