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African Journalist Simon Ateba Sues Karine, White House Secret Service For First Amendment Violation

Today News Africa White House correspondent Simon Ateba filed a lawsuit late Thursday against White House Press Secretary Carine Jean-Pierre and the US Secret Intelligence Service for revoking the hard pass.

Ateba said Jean-Pierre was criticized for his First Amendment right to freedom of the press after hundreds of hard passes were revoked from White House reporters working for small, non-corporate news outlets. He accused him of violating the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. These hard passes give journalists access to White House coverage events, including press conferences.

Ateba was first given a hard pass in February 2021, and his requests for questions and interviews were repeatedly ignored, according to the complaint. The White House told reporters on May 5 that it was limiting who could receive a hard pass. He officially lost his pass on August 1, along with more than 440 reporters.

“The ‘news press’ does not only include a small number of mutually qualified elite journalists. Masu.” litigation and an introduction are written. “Certainly, the inclusion of the word ‘news organ’ in the First Amendment [journalists] title of nobility. “

The lawsuit alleges that the White House’s revision of the hard pass criteria was a “brazen attempt” to oust Ateba from the press conference. Ateba’s lawyers also argue that lack of access to the White House venue, where press conferences are frequented, violates his rights to press freedom.

The American Freedom Center filed a lawsuit on Ateba’s behalf.

In a statement posted by the center, Ateba vowed to “keep fighting” and do his job despite the new restrictions, and told President Joe Biden, “Who will cover for me?” He claimed he had no right to decide.

“I was just doing my job of asking the right questions, asking the hard questions,” Ateba said. “Without a free press there can be no democracy. Without a free press there can be no freedom. Without a free press there can be no free and fair elections. Keep going, keep doing your job.No president, including President Joe Biden, should be allowed to decide who covers him.

Ateba has previously clashed with Jean-Pierre by yelling questions after not being summoned for several months. Yelling is the only option left for Ateba, according to the lawsuit. (Related: KJP threatens to abruptly end briefing after Simon Ateba sabotages)

In a notable incident, during the final briefing of former White House senior medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci in November, when Daily Caller White House correspondent Diana Glebova asked about the origins of COVID-19. , once yelled at Jean-Pierre after Ateba refused to call him.

He also yelled at the March 20 conference, which was attended by the cast of “Ted Lasso” as guest speakers.

“Ateba has gained national attention for his approach, but he just wants to do his job,” the complaint reads. “To do that, he must be treated like any other correspondent, including access to the White House and open dialogue with the White House Press Office.”

The lawsuit alleges that Jean-Pierre allowed an “unpredictable and volatile atmosphere” in the James J. Brady press conference room that “created confusion.” The lawsuit accused Jean-Pierre and the Secret Service of violating the Administrative Procedure Act by failing to show good reason to revoke Atheba’s pass.

The lawsuit also compared the White House’s treatment of Ateba to former CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta, whom former President Donald Trump’s administration sought to suspend for refusing to give the intern a microphone back. Acosta and Playboy’s White House correspondent Brian Kalem were also stripped of their hard passes by President Trump and had their passes reinstated in court, according to the complaint.

Following the announcement of the new hard pass policy in May, Ateba received a letter from the White House on July 11 threatening to suspend or completely cancel the pass.

“The media widely reported that the new hardpass requirement was directly targeting Mr. Ateba,” the complaint reads. “His high-profile exchanges with the White House press secretary during a briefing caught the attention of the international media and sparked the wrath of the Biden administration.”

According to the complaint, Ateba applied for journalist status to the Standing Committee of Correspondents of the Daily Press Gallery on June 5, but received no response. He also applied to the Supreme Court for credentials in early August, but was denied.

He reapplied for a White House hard pass on August 4, despite missing the July 31 renewal deadline, according to the complaint.

“But without a hard pass, Mr. Ateba has been and will continue to be irreparably hurt. The defendant has violated his constitutional rights. And without intervention by this court.” If so, this infringement will persist,” the complaint reads.

The White House did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment.

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