Showing posts with label Press. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Press. Show all posts

November 13, 2018

CNN Brings Suit Against Trump and Top WH House Aides For Barring Jim Acosta

CNN has filed a lawsuit against President Trump and several of his aides, seeking the immediate restoration of chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta's access to the White House.
The lawsuit is a response to the White House's suspension of Acosta's press pass, known as a Secret Service "hard pass," last week. The suit alleges that Acosta and CNN's First and Fifth Amendment rights are being violated by the ban.
The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday morning.
Both CNN and Acosta are plaintiffs in the lawsuit. There are six defendants: Trump, chief of staff John Kelly, press secretary Sarah Sanders, deputy chief of staff for communications Bill Shine, Secret Service director Randolph Alles, and the Secret Service officer who took Acosta's hard pass away last Wednesday.
    The six defendants are all named because of their roles in enforcing and announcing Acosta's suspension. 
    Sanders responded to the suit by saying that CNN is "grandstanding" by suing. She said the administration will "vigorously defend" itself.
    Last Wednesday, shortly after Acosta was denied entry to the White House grounds, Sanders defended the unprecedented step by claiming that he had behaved inappropriately at a presidential news conference. CNN and numerous journalism advocacy groups rejected that assertion and said his past should be reinstated.
    On Friday, CNN sent a letter to the White House formally requesting the immediate reinstatement of Acosta's pass and warning of a possible lawsuit, the network confirmed.
    In a statement on Tuesday morning, CNN said it is seeking a preliminary injunction as soon as possible so that Acosta can return to the White House right away, and a ruling from the court preventing the White House from revoking Acosta's pass in the future.
    "CNN filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration this morning in DC District Court," the statement read. "It demands the return of the White House credentials of CNN's Chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta. The wrongful revocation of these credentials violates CNN and Acosta's First Amendment rights of freedom of the press and their Fifth Amendment rights to due process. We have asked this court for an immediate restraining order requiring the pass be returned to Jim, and will seek permanent relief as part of this process."
    The White House Correspondents' Association said it "strongly supports CNN's goal of seeing their correspondent regain a US Secret Service security credential that the White House should not have taken away in the first place."
    CNN also asserted that other news organizations could have been targeted by the Trump administration this way, and could be in the future.
    "While the suit is specific to CNN and Acosta, this could have happened to anyone," the network said. "If left unchallenged, the actions of the White House would create a dangerous chilling effect for any journalist who covers our elected officials."
    CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker reiterated that in an internal memo to staff. "This is not a step we have taken lightly. But the White House action is unprecedented," Zucker said.
    During his presidential campaign, Trump told CNN that, if elected, he would not kick reporters out of the White House. But since moving into the White House, he has mused privately about taking away credentials, CNN reported earlier this year. He brought it up publicly on Twitter in May, tweeting "take away credentials?" as a question.
    And he said it again on Friday, two days after blacklisting Acosta. "It could be others also," he said, suggesting he may strip press passes from other reporters. Unprompted, he then named and insulted April Ryan, a CNN analyst, and veteran radio correspondent.
    Trump's threats fly in the face of decades of tradition and precedent. Republican and Democratic administrations alike have had a permissive approach toward press passes, erring on the side of greater access, even for obscure, partisan or fringe outlets.
    That is one of the reasons why First Amendment attorneys say CNN and Acosta have a strong case.
    As the prospect of a lawsuit loomed on Sunday, attorney Floyd Abrams, one of the country's most respected First Amendment lawyers, said the relevant precedent is a 1977 ruling in favor of Robert Sherrill, a muckraking journalist who was denied access to the White House in 1966.
    Eleven years later, a D.C. Court of Appeals judge ruled that the Secret Service had to establish "narrow and specific" standards for judging applicants. In practice, the key question is whether the applicant would pose a threat to the president.
    The code of federal regulations states that "in granting or denying a request for a security clearance made in response to an application for a White House press pass, officials of the Secret Service will be guided solely by the principle of whether the applicant presents a potential source of physical danger to the President and/or the family of the President so serious as to justify his or her exclusion from White House press privileges."
    There are other guidelines as well. Abrams said the case law specifies that before a press pass is denied, "you have to have notice, you have to have a chance to respond, and you have to have a written opinion by the White House as to what it's doing and why, so the courts can examine it."
    "We've had none of those things here," Abrams said.
    That's why the lawsuit is alleging a violation of the Fifth Amendment right to due process.
    Acosta found out about his suspension when he walked up to the northwest gate of the White House, as usual, for a Wednesday night live shot. He was abruptly told to turn in his "hard pass," which speeds up entry and exit from the grounds.
    "I was just told to do it," the Secret Service officer said.
    Other CNN reporters and producers continue to work from the White House grounds, but not Acosta.
    "Relevant precedent says that a journalist has a First Amendment right of access to places closed to the public but open generally to the press. That includes press rooms and news conferences," Jonathan Peters, a media law professor at the University of Georgia, told CNN last week. "In those places, if access is generally inclusive of the press, then access can't be denied arbitrarily or absent compelling reasons. And the reasons that the White House gave were wholly unconvincing and uncompelling."
    The White House accused Acosta of placing his hands on an intern who was trying to take a microphone away from him during a press conference. Sanders shared a distorted video clip of the press conference as evidence. The White House's rationale has been widely mocked and dismissed by journalists across the political spectrum as an excuse to blacklist an aggressive reporter. And Trump himself has cast doubt on the rationale: He said on Friday that Acosta was "not nice to that young woman," but then he said, "I don't hold him for that because it wasn't over, you know, horrible."
    Acosta has continued to do part of his job, contacting sources and filing stories, but he has been unable to attend White House events or ask questions in person -- a basic part of any White House correspondent's role.
    Acosta is on a previously scheduled vacation this week. He declined to comment on the lawsuit.
    On CNN's side, CNN Worldwide chief counsel David Vigilante is joined by two prominent attorneys, Ted Boutrous and Theodore Olson. Both men are partners at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.
    Last week, before he was retained by CNN, Boutrous tweeted that the action against Acosta "clearly violates the First Amendment." He cited the Sherrill case.
    "This sort of angry, irrational, false, arbitrary, capricious content-based discrimination regarding a White House press credential against a journalist quite clearly violates the First Amendment," he wrote.
    David McCraw, the top newsroom lawyer at The New York Times, said instances of news organizations suing a president are extremely rare.
    Past examples are The New York Times v. the U.S., the famous Supreme Court case involving the Pentagon Papers in 1971; and CNN's 1981 case against the White House and the broadcast networks, when CNN sued to be included in the White House press pool.
    The backdrop to this new suit, of course, is Trump's antipathy for CNN and other news outlets. He regularly derides reporters from CNN and the network as a whole.
    Abrams posited on "Reliable Sources" on Sunday that CNN might be reluctant to sue because the president already likes to portray the network as his enemy. Now there will be a legal case titled CNN Inc. versus President Trump.
    But, Abrams said, "this is going to happen again," meaning other reporters may be banned too.
      "Whether it's CNN suing or the next company suing, someone's going to have to bring a lawsuit," he said, "and whoever does is going to win unless there's some sort of reason."

      August 20, 2014

      Vid.Seems to Show Beheading of Missing American Journalist

      James Foley went missing in November 2012    

      A video posted online Tuesday purportedly shows an Islamist extremist beheading James Foley, an American journalist kidnapped in Syria more than 18 months ago.

       A graphic video of the purported killing, whose authenticity could not be immediately verified, was posted online Tuesday and quickly spread on social media. The video, which appears to be the work of the militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria, declares the act “A Message to #America (from the #IslamicState)” and retribution for the United States’ intervention against ISIS in Iraq. Some versions of the video and Twitter accounts circulating it were quickly taken offline Tuesday evening, though the video soon appeared on YouTube again.

      TIME is not publishing the video. The video also includes a threat to kill Steven Sotloff, a freelance journalist who has written for TIME among other outlets, and has been missing since August 2013.
      A Facebook page affiliated with the Foley family’s campaign for his release posted a message Tuesday saying it couldn’t confirm the authenticity of the video or Foley’s fate.
      “We know that many of you are looking for confirmation or answers,” the post read. “Please be patient until we all have more information, and keep the Foleys in your thoughts and prayers.”
      A spokesperson for the U.S. National Security Council said the American intelligence community “is working as quickly as possible to determine its authenticity.”
      “If genuine, we are appalled by the brutal murder of an innocent American journalist and we express our deepest condolences to his family and friends,” NSC spokesperson Caitlin Hayden said. “We will provide more information when it is available.”
      On Tuesday evening, Principal Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz said in a statement that President Obama had been briefed on the video by Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes. “The President will continue to receive regular updates,” Schultz said.
      Foley “was taken by an organized gang after departing from an internet café in Binesh, Syria,” near the Turkish border, the FBI said in an alert following the Nov. 22, 2012, kidnapping. He was in Binesh covering the Syrian civil war for theGlobalPost website and AFP.
      Foley, 40, grew up in New Hampshire, where his parents live.

      June 7, 2014

      Homophobic’s Jamaica Top Newspaper Endorses Gay Marriage, where even gay sex is illegal


      Jamaica's top national newspaper has run an editorial arguing the island nation should recognise same-sex marriage, in a country where gay sex is still outlawed.
      In an editorial on Thursday, The Gleaner says the Jamaican constitution's definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman was unfair, calling it a "deep-seated, if slowly receding, homophobia". Enshrined as Section 18 in the constitution, it is "an assault on the principle of equality of people, people's right to forge relationships, and their right to equal protection under the law", the paper says.
      There has been a 20% fall in the number of couples getting married between 2005 and 2010, and the most recent census in 2011 shows that 70% of people over the age of 16 - the legal age of marriage - remained single, The Gleaner reports. With divorce rates up 30% in Jamaica, allowing same-sex couples to tie the knot might revive a social institution in decline, The Gleaner suggests.
      A rare challenge to Jamaica's 1864 anti-sodomy law is pending before the country's supreme court, and has whipped up a campaign by religious conservatives who want to keep the law in place. Jamaica has often been criticised by activists over its attitudes towards gay rights. The lyrics of many reggae and dancehall musicians feature homophobic references and gay people are often singled out for violent attack. A 2012 US State Department report described homophobia in Jamaica as "widespread". But there also reports of growing tolerance, and during her 2011 election campaign, Prime Minister Portia Simpson called for the repeal of a law that effectively bans gay male sex.

      June 3, 2013

      Bradley Trial Puts In Danger The Freedom of The Press which Guard us Against the Government

      Bradley Manning’s trial presents a unique interpretation of a military law that, if it stands and Manning is convicted, would have dire consequences for both whistleblowers and the freedom of the press, according to a Harvard Law School professor who is expected to testify at the trial.

      The judge asked in a previous portion of the trial in January whether the prosecutors would have pressed the same charges—aiding the enemy—against Manning if he had given the documents in to the New York Times instead of Wikileaks.
      The prosecutor told the judge: “Yes ma’am.”
      That admission—that Wikileaks, a small organization at the time, is the same as a larger media outlet—greatly concerns Yochai Benkler, a professor at Harvard Law School and co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard.
      Manning’s guilty plea could already subject him to 20 years in prison, “more than enough to deter future whistleblowers,” wrote Benkler in an analysis of the case.
      “But the prosecutors seem bent on using this case to push a novel and aggressive interpretation of the law that would arm the government with a much bigger stick to prosecute vaguely-defined national security leaks, a big stick that could threaten not just members of the military, but civilians too.”
      The prosecution case, says Benkler, “seems designed, quite simply, to terrorize future national security whistleblowers.”
      The charges against Manning include “aiding the enemy,” which is punishable by death. The aiding caused damage to the United States national security and hampered diplomatic affairs, according to the prosecution.
      One of the examples reportedly going to be put forth of the impact of the leak of documents is that several files were found on Osama Bin Laden’s computer.
      Benkler asks, referring the the man who leaked documents showing deception in the prosecution of the Vietnam War, “Does that mean that if the Viet Cong had made copies of the Pentagon Papers, [Daniel] Ellsberg would have been guilty of “’aiding the enemy?’”
      The “aiding the enemy” charge, if Manning is convicted, would have a big impact on news organizations around the world. If whistleblowers leak classified materials to any news organization that publishes it on a website, then enemies of the United States can read them. So Manning is charged with “aiding the enemy” because he knew that Al Qaeda or its affiliates could read the materials he was leaking online.
      “This theory is unprecedented in modern American history,” according to Benkler. “The prosecution claims that there is, in fact precedent in Civil War cases, including one from 1863 where a Union officer gave a newspaper in occupied Alexandria rosters of Union units, and was convicted of aiding the enemy and sentenced to three months. But Manning’s defense argues that the Civil War cases involved publishing coded messages in newspapers and personals, not leaking for reporting to the public at large. The other major source that the prosecution uses is a 1920 military law treatise. Even if the prosecutors are correct in their interpretations of these two sources, which is far from obvious, the fact that they need to rely on these old and obscure sources underscores how extreme their position is in the twenty-first century.”
      This charge could also extend to civilians who leak information to the press.
      Benkler says that if Manning is convicted, “the introduction of a capital offense into the mix would dramatically elevate the threat to whistleblowers,” he says, adding. “The consequences for the ability of the press to perform its critical watchdog function in the national security arena will be dire.”

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