The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Condemns President Joe Biden and urges the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to reverse their block on media access to border facilities in a statement Tuesday.
SPJ condemns the Biden Administration for putting restrictions on the media at the border. SPJ argued right now is a crucial time for journalists to be at the border, considering “the current influx of people.” Which include “unaccompanied minors and children separated from their families.” During this critical time, the SPJ wants transparency for journalists, including to “be allowed unfettered access to report to the public.”
The Society strives to “promotes the free flow of information vital to informing citizens” and fight for the First Amendment to guarantee the “freedom of speech and press.”
Matthew T. Hall, SPJ National President argued, President Joe Biden should follow through on his promises to allow “a more humane approach to immigration and more transparency than his predecessor.”
President Joe Biden promised both a more humane approach to immigration and more transparency than his predecessor. His administration’s refusal to let journalists fully observe and assess the growing humanitarian crisis at the border involving unaccompanied migrant children shows he is failing on both promises. We urge Biden and his administration to let journalists do their job by granting them access to facilities along the border and granting them interviews from officials who know and can accurately convey to the public what is going on. Such transparency is of the utmost importance at this time and all the time.
This week, SPJ will join other journalism and open government groups by sending a letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to request DHS gives access to journalists. “The letter addresses the argument by the Biden administration that the ongoing pandemic is at least in part to blame for blocked media access,” the press release said. In addition to pointing out, over the last year during the pandemic, jails and courthouses have continuously granted media access.
The “First Amendment is not suspended during public emergencies and the coronavirus pandemic is not an exception,” noting the media’s job is to inform the public regardless of the pandemic.
“The last three presidential administrations have granted journalists at least some access to border facilities,” the statement added.