Senate Republicans crack down on press access

Coverage Type: 

Senate Republicans shocked the Capitol with an apparent crackdown on media access that immediately drew criticism from reporters and lawmakers.

Reporters were told they would no longer be allowed to film or record audio of interviews in the Senate side hallways of the Capitol without special permission. And would need permission from senators, the Senate Rules Committee, the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms or the Senate Radio and TV Gallery, depending on location, before conducting an on-camera interview with a senator anywhere in the Capitol or in the Senate office buildings, according to a Senate official familiar with the matter. The new restrictions would break years of precedent, which previously set that “videotaping and audio recording are permitted in the public areas of the House and Senate office buildings,” according to the Radio and TV Gallery website.

A Senate Democratic aide said the decision to substantially curtail the access of television reporters was made unilaterally by Senate Rules Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.). Chairman Shelby said "no additional restrictions have been put in place by the Rules Committee," adding that the committee "has been working with the various galleries to ensure compliance with existing rules."

Senate Republicans crack down on press access Journalists Face New Limits On Press Access In Covering Congress (Huffington Post)