White House bans BBC and critical press from key briefing

White House press secretary Sean Spicer briefs reporters (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
White House press secretary Sean Spicer briefs reporters (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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Donald Trump’s press secretary has caused an international outcry after he barred severl critical news organisations including the BBC from a White House press briefing.

The Guardian and The Daily Mail were also blocked from the meeting late on Friday in a move that has angered supporters of a free press’s role in a democracy.

Shortly after the US president gave a speech attacking the media as “fake news” and the “enemy of the people”, his press secretary Sean Spicer restricted multiple media organisations from entering the daily briefing.

CNN, Buzzfeed and The New York Times, of which Mr Trump has been highly critical, were also denied access.

Mr Trump has previously been publicly critical of the BBC, twice sarcastically describing the broadcaster’s highly experienced and award-winning journalist Jon Sopel as “another beauty”.

The BBC has sought clarification from the White House on why its representative was denied access.

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The broadcaster’s Americas bureaux editor Paul Danahar added: “Our reporting will remain fair and impartial regardless.”

The White House invited a pool of news organisations that shares its work with other press to the briefing and said it felt “everyone was represented”.

But Mr Spicer also invited several other outlets, including the right-wing Breitbart News website, whose former chairman is Mr Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon.

Jeff Mason, president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, said the organisation was “protesting strongly” about the move.

“We encourage the organisations that were allowed in to share the material with others in the press corps who were not,” he added.