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Reporters Cmte and 57 news orgs urge Senate to reconsider impeachment trial press restrictions

Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press: “In a letter sent Thursday night, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, joined by 57 news organizations, asked the Senate to reconsider press restrictions during the impeachment trial that have been the subject of growing criticism over the past week. “Absent an articulable security rationale,” the letter reads, Senate leaders and security officials “have an obligation to preserve and promote the public’s right to know.”

The Senate Standing Committee of Correspondents, the group of Senate reporters who issue credentials and uphold the rules of the Senate press gallery, urged Senate leadership on Jan. 14 to relax the restrictions, which include enhanced screening of reporters entering the press gallery and confining reporters to a press “pen” on the second floor of the Senate to prevent them from “walking and talking” with senators. The standing committee had advocated for a temporary loosening of the existing restriction on the use of electronic devices in the Senate chamber (such devices are normally prohibited in the Senate’s upper gallery, and reporters will enter and exit to use their laptops and phones). But Senate leadership and security officials declined and added additional screening devices at the entrance to the gallery. The restrictions will prevent reporters from moving back and forth from the gallery to report on breaking developments…”

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