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Journalism groups seek transparency from Trump presidency

Journalism groups seek transparency from Trump presidency

Virtually all of the leading national journalism associations throughout the United States penned an open letter to president-elect Donald Trump imploring him to work with them to preserve press freedom.

The National Press Club, the Society of Professional Journalists and 16 others published the letter Wednesday “on a hopeful note” that Trump will preserve the longstanding traditions that safeguard coverage of the presidency, such as the press pool. This arrangement, dating back to the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt, designates a reporter, on a rotating basis, to follow the president during routine events and brief the rest of the media.

“Every president of both parties has treated this important tradition with respect. The role of the press pool is critically important to our country, whose citizens depend on and deserve to know what the president is doing,” the letter reads. “This isn’t about access for the press itself, it’s about access for Americans in diverse communities across the country. Your constituents receive information from a variety of platforms to learn about what our president is doing.”

Trump’s resentment and antagonism toward journalists is central to his political persona. Since winning the presidential election, his insults have given way to relative silence and some worry that the lack of communication about his transition is a harbinger of things to come.

He’s already defied protocol by ditching the press pool several times. On Tuesday night, the business magnate slipped away to the 21 Club in midtown Manhattan with his family when the press pool thought he had retired for the evening.

The journalism groups entreated Trump, who regularly vilified the press on the campaign trail, to foster a spirit of openness and transparency in his administration and to provide access to the president-elect and his chief aides through press conferences and pool briefings. They also requested the new administration to comply more quickly and fully than the Obama team with requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act to show “the American people, and the world, that the republic belongs to the people.”

“A great America depends on having sunlight on its leaders. We expect the traditions of White House press coverage to be upheld whether in Washington or elsewhere,” the letter continues. “Again we, a joint group of diverse journalism associations, speak as one as we respectfully ask that you take these steps to ensure access to our members covering your administration.”

The Committee to Protect Journalists, which was among the letter’s co-signers, had strongly condemned Trump in October as an “unprecedented threat to the rights of journalists.” The organization said he consistently betrayed First Amendment values and demonstrated contempt for the role of the press beyond advancing his interests and providing publicity for his endeavors.

The National Association of Black Journalists, the Native American Journalists Association, the National Association of LGBTQ Journalists, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the International Women’s Media Foundation and Online News Association also signed the letter.

Source: www.yahoo.com

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