The Biden White House has proposed new rules governing who will qualify for regular access to its briefing room, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday.
Last Friday, the White House issued a notice proposing a standard for general behavior for all reporters who receive a “hard” press pass, the credentials that allow them to come and go from the White House at will.
All hard pass holders must act professionally while on White House grounds by being respectful to White House employees, guests, and fellow reporters, observing the restrictions imposed by the White House for credentialed events and access to some areas, and “not impeding events or briefings on campus.”
Anyone who violates the new rules will receive a written warning, and those who repeatedly violate the rules will either face suspension or have their credentials revoked.
The new rules will also set the criteria for receiving a hard pass. Reporters who work full-time for a news organization and reside in the Washington DC area will receive a hard pass. Additionally, any reporter who has worked at least once in the White House in the last six months or holds press credentials for either the Supreme Court or one of the chambers of Congress can also obtain a hard pass.
The new rules are the Biden administration’s attempt to establish a code of conduct in hopes of avoiding the legal battles the Trump administration experienced after it stripped CNN reporter Jim Acosta and former Playboy White House correspondent Brian Karem of their White House press credentials.
In those instances, the courts ruled that Trump officials violated the due process rights of Acosta and Karem since they acted without a written set of standards.
But Today News Africa reporter Simon Ateba suggested in a tweet last Friday that the new hard pass rules were made to “target” him. Ateba has routinely clashed with both press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and her predecessor Jen Psaki over Ateba’s constant interruptions during briefings.
However, the White House press office said the rules changes have been in development for over a year.
According to the White House, the objective of the new rules is not to prevent adversarial reporters from obtaining a hard pass. Instead, the new rules are to manage security risks.