WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 17, 2020–The Military Reporters & Editors association joined with 57 other media groups and publications this week in asking Senate leaders to reconsider press restrictions proposed for next week’s impeachment trial.
In a Jan. 16 letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, the coalition expressed concerns about plans to limit reporters’ movements in Capitol hallways and to require journalists entering the gallery that overlooks the Senate chamber to pass through a magnetometer.
“The reported restrictions on the use of electronic devices and on the ability of reporters to question lawmakers as they move about the Capitol, as well as the additional security screening, will hinder reporting without an obvious benefit for Senate security,” the coalition wrote.
The letter comes a day after MRE President John M. Donnelly issued a statement on behalf the MRE board criticizing the proposed rules.
“More security may well be required during the impeachment trial, but it should not come at the expense of the press access that the public has a right to,” said Donnelly said.
Donnelly is a former member of Congress’s Standing Committee of Correspondents, which credentials Washington reporters and speaks for the press corps on Capitol Hill. The committee’s current leaders have spoken out against the proposed new restrictions.
MRE, based in Washington, D.C., represents several hundred American journalists who specialize in covering national security as well as communications professionals and others in the field.
Contact: John M. Donnelly 202 650 6738; firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can read the letter as a pdf here: 1-16-20-Impeachment-Senate-Press-Access-Letter-FINAL