Sunday, June 16, 2024
14.6 C

Cameroonian journalist Simon Ateba sues White House over press freedom

Cameroonian journalist Simon Ateba has taken legal action against the White House in an effort to protect press freedom. Ateba, who serves as a White House correspondent for Today News Africa, filed a lawsuit on Thursday, claiming that the Biden administration unlawfully revoked the press credentials of more than 440 journalists, effectively banning them from reporting on government activities.

The lawsuit, brought forth by the Center for American Liberty, alleges that the White House’s stricter press badge restrictions infringe upon the First Amendment rights of journalists, including Ateba. In May, the White House press office announced that all reporters would be required to reapply for hard-pass access, previously automatically renewed, by the end of July. This new policy targeted freelance journalists, who now had to submit letters from news outlets affirming their affiliation, as well as provide a Washington, D.C., address.

Moreover, the updated restrictions stated that journalists who fail to conduct themselves in a professional manner could have their press credentials revoked. This announcement followed several instances in which Ateba engaged in heated exchanges with press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre during daily press briefings. Ateba has accused Jean-Pierre of undermining the principles of the First Amendment and discriminating against journalists employed by smaller news organizations. He claims that Jean-Pierre has refused to address his questions for months, demonstrating a clear bias against him and his colleagues.

By filing this lawsuit, Ateba and the Center for American Liberty seek to challenge the White House’s press restrictions and reaffirm the importance of a free press in democracy. Freedom of the press is a fundamental aspect of the First Amendment, ensuring that journalists can hold the government accountable and provide the public with accurate and timely information.

Cameroonian journalist Simon Ateba sues White House over press freedom
Cameroonian journalist, Simon Ateba for Today News Africa.

After months of not receiving answers to his inquiries from the White House press office, Mr. Ateba chose to utilize the only option available to him: speaking up during press briefings. In a lawsuit filed against the White House, Ateba claims that he has been unfairly targeted and had his press credentials revoked due to newly implemented rules.

According to the lawsuit, Ateba asserted himself in the briefing room on several occasions since December 2021, speaking over other reporters and the White House Press Secretary in an attempt to make his concerns known. However, instead of addressing his inquiries, the White House press office ignored his questions and concerns, leaving Ateba frustrated and feeling unheard.

Cameroonian journalist Simon Ateba sues White House over press freedom
Cameroonian journalist, Simon Ateba for Today News Africa.

The newly implemented rules by the White House press office have been criticized by the CEO of the Center for American Liberty, Harmeet Dhillon. Dhillon argues that these rules are unconstitutional and directly target Ateba. By outsourcing the credentialing process, the White House is giving a select group of journalists the power to decide which reporters and outlets are worthy of covering the White House. This selective discretion goes against the principles of a free press and holding those in power accountable.

Ateba emphasizes that this lawsuit is not just about him but about maintaining a free press and holding those in power accountable. Regardless of who holds the office, no President should have the authority to decide who covers them. It is a matter of democracy and the right of the people to be informed. Ateba believes that today the rules target him, but tomorrow they might target others. It is a dangerous precedent that needs to be challenged in order to protect the cornerstone of democracy: a free and independent press.

Discover more from Who Owns Africa

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.

Hot this week

Meet Uganda’s Hamis Kiggundu who’s richer than Ronaldo and Messi

Meet Ugandan entrepreneur Hamis Kiggundu with a net worth...

Scent of Africa unveils exquisite new fragrances Fik and Gleti

Scent of Africa, a leading fragrance house, has unveiled...

Meet the most stingy woman in history, with a net worth of $2.3 billion

Hetty Green, an American woman born in 1835, is...

How Hofmann left her white boyfriend for a Samburu warrior

In the 1980s, a love story unfolded in Kenya...

Companies Owned by South African Billionaire Johann Rupert

Discover the powerhouse companies owned by South African billionaire...


South Africa’s Pape Fund increases investment in Entersekt

South Africa's financial authentication company, Entersekt, has recently garnered...

Cyril Ramaphosa re-elected as South Africa’s president

South Africa’s president Cyril Ramaphosa has been reelected by...

South Africa: Ramaphosa poised for re-election amidst ANC turmoil

As Cyril Ramaphosa prepares for re-election as South Africa's...

Niger court lifts immunity of deposed President Bazoum

The top court in military-governed Niger has lifted the...

G7 pledges $420 million in investments for Africa

The G7 leaders have pledged $420 million in investments...

Nigeria secures $2.25 billion to bolster economy stability

Nigeria, the largest economy in Africa, has successfully secured...

Uganda to reduce commercial borrowing to tackle debt crisis

Uganda has been facing a mounting public debt crisis,...

How Betty Kyallo manipulated senior officers to stop fraud investigation

Kenyan media personality and entrepreneur, Betty Kyallo has been...

Related Articles

Discover more from Who Owns Africa

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading