We have spent months covering the struggles of the White House correspondent, Simon Ateba from Today News Africa while also trying to cover press briefings given by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. I say covering because Jean-Pierre removed Ateba from the room in March for asking unwelcome questions. After his dismissal, he appeared on the number one show of former Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
Now, Ateba says, his access via a “hard pass,” guaranteeing him the ability to cover the White House, was among hundreds of others recently scrapped by the Biden Administration–essentially, keeping him from fulfilling his role as a journalist. He announced on Thursday that he would be filing a First Amendment lawsuit against the White House as well as Karine Jean-Pierre.
Ateba shares a tweet from the Center for American Liberty, a legal nonprofit organization that announced its lawsuit in his name.
After years of targeting and discrimination, I have just filed my First Amendment Rights suit against the @whitehouse and @PressSec. Karine Jean Pierre.
He explains in the video why he filed the suit:
You may know that the White House recently deactivated 442 passes hard, which made it more difficult for journalists covering President Biden. Unluckily, my hard pass is one of them.
It’s now difficult for me to access the White House. I was just doing my job by asking the right questions and the difficult questions.
He then continues to give a passionate defense of the First Amendment and the freedoms that it protects the press from. And a chilling warning on what could happen if journalists were denied these rights:
Without freedom of the press, there cannot be freedom. Without freedom of the press, there cannot be a free and fair election.
The message sent by CAL to support his suit is:
We will not tolerate the White House targeting reporters for asking tough questions. Join us in the fight for freedom of the press by using #SimonSays!
Ateba said to Carlson in his interview, that the White House is as simple as:… “When you do the right things, or ask the right questions, they will try to silence or censor you.”
Watch the entire announcement by Ateba below:
— Simon Ateba (@simonateba) August 10, 2023