DC Visit by NAHJ President for Press Freedom Advocacy

Nov 15, 2018
2:02 pm
Originally published at NAHJ

The following media release from the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) was shared on Wednesday, November 14:

White House reschedules meeting with NAHJ; President Hugo Balta continues campaign to support CNN Network and Jim Acosta

Washington, D.C. – In a last minute change today, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) was notified by the White House of a scheduling conflict that would require Mercedes Schlapp, Director of Strategic Communications, to attend a meeting with President Donald Trump instead of with NAHJ leadership. Additionally, White House officials are looking to reschedule the meeting for after Thanksgiving.

The original meeting was initially requested to address CNN correspondent Jim Acosta’s credentials, treatment of minority journalists and all members of the press, in addition to dialogue surrounding a recommitment of the White House to traditions of press access, transparency and journalists responsibility to be the voice of the people.

As scheduled, this afternoon, NAHJ President Hugo Balta attended the initial hearing for Acosta and CNN, which was presided by U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly. CNN is requesting a temporary restraining order and immediate restoration of Acosta’s hard pass. The initial revocation of Acosta’s pass was unconstitutional and therefore invalid. Balta has been in conversations with the legal team representing Acosta and the news network. Following Thursday’s ruling by Judge Kelly, the association will update members, when appropriate, of next steps in support of the legal strategy.

The first amendment exists to protect the American people and check the power of the government, preserving democracy.

“This is an unprecedented situation,” Balta commented. “More than Jim, more than our industry, this is ultimately a debate over a new standard by the Trump presidency that if allowed would diminish the American people’s access to those who govern them”, he added.

Since the escalation of the situation last week, NAHJ has been the leading voice to condemn the administration’s treatment of Acosta and journalists. President Balta has rallied dozens of national organizations to issue similar statements. NAHJ has expressed appreciation for the ongoing support and solidarity given by organizations such as CPJRCFPWHCAASNE/ONANABJNLGJANHMCFundamedios USA and SPJ.

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About NAHJ The National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) is the largest organization of Latino journalists in the United States and dedicated to the recognition and professional advancement of Hispanics in the news industry. The mission of NAHJ is to increase the number of Latinos in the newsrooms and to work toward fair and accurate representation of Latinos in news media. Established in April 1984, NAHJ created a national voice and unified vision for all Hispanic journalists. NAHJ has approximately 2,300 members, including working journalists, journalism students, other media-related professionals and journalism educators. For more information please visit NAHJ.org or follow on Twitter @NAHJ.

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