The Radio Television Digital News Association and its Voice of the First Amendment Task Force today voiced their strong support for a lawsuit filed by CNN seeking the restoration of the press credentials of the network’s chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta.
The suit, filed against the Trump administration in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., seeks a temporary restraining order reinstating Acosta’s credentials immediately, followed by a permanent injunction.
Acosta’s U.S. Secret Service “hard pass,” which granted him access as a member of the news media to the White House, was revoked November 7, hours after he asked tough questions during a presidential news conference. In its initial defense of the decision, the White House circulated a doctored video which purported to show Acosta assaulting an intern who attempted to take a microphone from Acosta’s hands as he persisted in asking questions after being told by the president to sit down.
In a statement issued by CNN shortly after the suit was filed today, the network said, “While the suits specific to CNN and Acosta, this could have happened to anyone. If left unchallenged the actions of the White House would create a dangerous chilling effect for any journalist who covers our elected officials.”
“The Trump administration’s attempt to punish CNN and Jim Acosta was, and is, outrageous and unacceptable. It was an unwarranted escalation of anti-First Amendment and press freedom rancor consistently used by this president and his acolytes,” said Dan Shelley, RTDNA Executive Director.
“If left unchecked, the administration’s action could give license to elected and public officials across the land to deny journalists, and, by extension, the public, access to information they have a right and need to know,” Shelley added.
RTDNA formed the nonpartisan Voice of the First Amendment Task Force to defend against threats to the First Amendment and news media access, and to help the public better understand why responsible journalism is essential to their daily lives. RTDNA is a founding partner of the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, the archive of record for threats against press freedom in America. Reach out to RTDNA by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.