Journalists barred from 'filming' interviews with US Senators in Capitol

14 Juin, 2017, 20:46 | Author: Claudine Rigal

This time, they were wrong. She said that they were told that the decision came from the Senate Rules Committee, and that they were to obtain permission from them before conducting interviews.

Turns out it was largely a miscommunication and an overzealous reading of the rules and was resolved within a few hours after a storm of protest.

Republicans in charge of the U.S. Senate have apparently decided they would rather not have journalists with cameras waiting for them outside the closed doors where such things as a massive health care bill are being pieced together.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) connected the reported rules to the GOP's healthcare secrecy, tweeting, "Huh?" Richard Shelby, R-AL and chair of the rules committee, released a statement that no changes had been made to existing rules on press coverage.

Multiple reporters tweeted Tuesday that they were ordered not to approach senators for impromptu on-camera interviews in Capitol hallways because of new Senate Rules Committee restrictions that require advanced permission to ask questions.

The Washington Post reports journalists were told to stop filming interviews in Senate hallways Tuesday, a dramatic break with tradition as lawmakers face pressure to respond to journalists' inquiries about President Donald Trump, health care legislation and other matters. Democrats pounced and the American Civil Liberties Union charged that "preventing the press from informing the public about the workings of their own government goes against the core values of our democracy".

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The new directive is a stark change from regular order in the Capitol, where credentialed reporters are traditionally given the same access to hallways and public spaces as Capitol Hill staff.

The News Media Alliance was celebrating the news that the Senate Rules Committee had reversed a decision to make it more hard to interview Senators in the halls outside hearings. "Fine, that's part of the deal", said Sen.

"Shelby [R-Ala.] for reversing the decision and applaud Senator Klobuchar for her willingness to defend the freedom of the press", said the alliance. "I told them to stand down". "Confusing the press is just as effective as having uniformed thugs forcibly detain reporters and destroy their equipment". Reporters, I'm on your side.

The lack of clarity has been concerning to many reporters on Capitol Hill, who are tasked with covering some of Washington's biggest stories, from the Russian Federation investigation to health care and tax reform.

It also set off a firestorm of criticism from Capitol Hill reporters and Democrats. Those uneasy with interviews are known to head rapidly for the senator-only elevators, or often appear engrossed in a telephone conversation.

Reporters were then told that they "may continue to follow the rules as if it was yesterday" according to NBC reporter Kasie Hunt. If they wanted to do so, they would need prior approval from the committee. We're guessing it won't be very effective. John Thune, R-S.D., a member of Senate leadership.


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