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WHITE HOUSE’S WITHDRAWAL OF JIM ACOSTA’S PRESS CREDENTIALS FURTHER EVIDENCE OF REPRISALS THAT VIOLATE THE FIRST AMENDMENT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NEW YORK—In response to the White House’s withdrawal of CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s press credentials following a dramatic confrontation, PEN America Chief Executive Officer Suzanne Nossel released the following statement:

“In late October PEN America filed suit against President Donald Trump arguing that his threats and use of the machinery of government to exact reprisals against journalists and media organizations violate the First Amendment. We specifically cited his threats to withdraw press credentials from reporters based on critical questions and stories as a prime example of this behavior. Regrettably, last night yet again the White House demonstrated precisely the pattern our lawsuit documents. The White House’s withdrawal of the press credentials of CNN White House reporter Jim Acosta was in clear retaliation for Acosta’s persistent questioning of the President on topics he did not wish to address during a press conference yesterday afternoon. The rescission of Acosta’s credentials, accompanied by a demonstrably false account by White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders of the actions that led to the withdrawal, are yet more evidence that the President and the administration feel no compunction about exacting punishment on journalists for hard-hitting coverage. The First Amendment protects our press from having to operate under the cloud of such intimidation and threatened reprisal. Our lawsuit is an effort to affirm that fundamental principle, and ensure that no one—not even the President of the United States—is given free rein to violate the Constitution.”

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PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. pen.org

CONTACT: Anoosh Gasparian, External Relations Manager: agasparian@pen.org


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