WH Accused of Excluding Simon Ateba with Press Pass Policy Modification

Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre holds a daily briefing Wednesday, May 26, 2021 in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Katie Ricks). Original public domain image from Flickr

Simon Ateba, the chief White House correspondent for Today News Africa, has persistently challenged the Biden administration in the press room.

On Jen Psaki’s final day, Ateba constantly tried to have her and other reporters in the back of the room acknowledge him.

Ateba accused White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre of “making a mockery of the First Amendment” after she interrupted him in the press room.

White House Correspondents Association Makes Rule Changes for Press Hard Passes

In May 2022, Ateba discovered the consequences of attempting to obtain genuine answers from the Biden administration; he faced the threat of expulsion from the White House Correspondents Association.

Ateba declared his intention to sue the group for making false allegations against him and not adhering to their guidelines. On Friday, Ateba shared that the White House is altering the rules for press hard passes, claiming these changes are aimed at him.

As reported by The New York Post, “The action is largely thought to be motivated by the desire to revoke African journalist Simon Ateba’s access to the briefing room, following numerous disturbances.”

“However, those engaged in the conversations mentioned that White House staff had already considered implementing changes prior to Ateba gaining minor fame.”

White House to Modify Press Hard Pass Policy

Ateba disclosed the correspondence he got:

“The White House seems to be revising press hard pass regulations, specifically to target me. Yet, I meet all the criteria, considering we’ve recently filed our taxes, registered within the District of Columbia, and maintain a DC address.”

“I pursued journalism academically, garnered dual degrees, devoted my career solely to journalism, and mentored innumerable individuals.”

“Furthermore, I’m a steadfast attendee of briefings and refrain from secondary employment. The present situation appears rather ludicrous. How is it that an individual hailing from Africa prompts the overhaul of established rules?”

The White House communicated the following:

“Esteemed colleagues, we are reaching out to notify you of our intention to modify the press hard pass policy, aligning it with previous administrations’ approaches. As per the updated policy, all existing press hard passes will be deemed invalid after July 31.”

“You may apply for the renewal of your current hard pass as detailed below, with renewed passes remaining valid for one year, subject to yearly renewal.”