Vance, DeSantis rally places ‘very unusual’ press restrictions

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Journalists hoping to cover a Republican rally featuring Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Senate candidate JD Vance in Ohio will have to agree to give organizers access to any footage they take, and could face to questions about their use.

It’s part of controversial restrictions imposed on journalists as a condition of receiving a press pass to cover Friday’s event, which is organized by an offshoot of the pro-Trump youth group Turning Point USA.

The press policy also restricts reporters to specific events and parts of the venue, and prohibits them from recording speakers who do not wish to be filmed. Turning Point warned that violators could be expelled from the event.

“These are very unusual conditions,” said Monica Nieporte, president and executive director of the Ohio News Media Association, which represents news outlets statewide.

In particular, Nieporte denounced the organizers’ request for access to reporters’ footage – which many newsrooms would view as an attempt to meddle in coverage. “We disagree that the Unite & Win rally has the right to request general access to content created by journalists in exchange for permission to cover their event,” she told the Washington Post. “Journalists work for their media and not for the Vance campaign. Their content belongs to their employer.

She said her group had not been asked by member organizations to fight the restrictions, but she warned: “We strongly advise our members against agreeing to any terms that could lead to censorship or modification of their content by a third party not affiliated with their media. exit.”

Kirstin McCudden, editorial vice president of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, said Turning Point Action’s demand that journalists explain and provide access to their images “goes against the media’s role as dogs goal guards” – although she said it was becoming more and more common. as a means of protecting politicians from the press.

“Unfortunately, it is the public electorate who loses when journalists cannot freely cover candidates,” McCudden added.

Andrew Kolvet, spokesman for Turning Point Action, said the press pass prerequisites “prevent the organization from being exploited by organizations or businesses – typically non-mainstream media – that do not have at all intend to report on the event, but rather wish to monetize raw footage/photos.These policies also maintain the privacy of guests and speakers in the green rooms, backstage, etc. and protect our underage attendees.

“That said,” he added, “we have frequently [waive] certain clauses for legitimate news outlets that cover the event in good faith, as we have offered to do with Washington Post reporters for the events in question.

The restrictions have sparked outrage on social media from some reporters who cover Ohio and national news.

“Wow. That sounds a bit undemocratic. writes Marty Schladenreporter for the Ohio Capital Journal, on Twitter. Emma Hendersona WKYC 3News reporter in northeast Ohio tweeted, “Yiikes.”

Another Ohio reporter, Morgan Trau of News 5 Cleveland, wondered how the policy would be enforced. “Who’s to say that some journalists wouldn’t be excluded and denied – despite accurate and fair coverage?” she asked on Twitter.

It’s still unclear if Turning Point can enforce its rules.

An Ohio reporter, who spoke on condition of anonymity to protect his ability to attend the event, said the restrictions “seem intended to intimidate, but in reality they are quite easy to ignore or to circumvent”.

In particular, this person told the Post, a requirement that reporters formally request to interview attendees by emailing Turning Point USA could be circumvented by interviewing rally attendees before or after they leave the venue. “If it draws a tenth of the turnout to a Trump rally, we won’t have trouble finding people to talk there or back,” they added.

While Turning Point’s request to see reporters’ footage is unusual, it is not the first time in recent years that the press has been barred from covering a political event. Trump briefly banned Post reporters from covering his rallies during his 2016 presidential bid, and he was openly hostile to much of the White House press corps throughout his administration.

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