White House restores access for CNN’S Acosta, ending legal fight

Judge Timothy Kelly ordered the White House on November 16, 2018, to reinstate Jim Acosta's press credentials, whose pass was revoked after a heated exchange with US President Donald Trump. (AFP/File Photo)
Updated 20 November 2018
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White House restores access for CNN’S Acosta, ending legal fight

  • Acosta’s credentials were revoked after Trump denounced him as a “rude, terrible person” during a Nov. 7 news conference
  • CNN challenged the move in court and on Friday won a ruling that temporarily reinstated Acosta

WASHINGTON: The White House on Monday restored press access for CNN reporter Jim Acosta, ending a legal fight that had so far gone against the Trump administration.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that the press pass for Acosta, which was revoked after a contentious Nov. 7 news conference with President Donald Trump, was restored but that reporters who ignored new rules for news conferences could have their credentials taken away.
Under the rules, “a journalist called upon to ask a question will ask a single question and then will yield the floor to other journalists,” but a follow-up question may be permitted at the president’s discretion, Sanders said.
CNN, a frequent target of Trump’s criticism of the news media, said in a statement its lawsuit challenging the White House’s actions was no longer necessary.
Earlier on Monday, the cable news network had sought an emergency federal court hearing after the White House said it would again revoke Acosta’s pass once a temporary restraining order reinstating it for a two-week period expired.
Acosta’s credentials were revoked after Trump denounced him as a “rude, terrible person” during a news conference the day after Trump’s Republicans lost their majority in the US House of Representatives in congressional elections.
Trump had erupted into anger when Acosta questioned him about the probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and a migrant caravan traveling through Mexico, telling Acosta: “That’s enough, that’s enough,” as a White House staffer tried to take the microphone away from the correspondent.
CNN challenged the press pass revocation in court, arguing it violated Acosta’s First Amendment right to free speech, as well as the due process clause of the Constitution providing fair treatment through judicial and administrative process.
In temporarily restoring Acosta’s credentials, US District Judge Timothy Kelly said last Friday that the White House had failed to provide due process. He did not address any alleged First Amendment violations.
In court, US government lawyers said there was no First Amendment right of access to the White House and that Acosta was penalized for acting rudely at the news conference and not for his criticism of the president.
Trump, who has long blasted the media, and often targeted Acosta, said on “Fox News Sunday” that the judge’s decision was “not a big deal” and that the White House would establish rules for the press.
 


Indian journalist condemns Twitter for blocking account after abuse online

Updated 19 February 2019
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Indian journalist condemns Twitter for blocking account after abuse online

  • Dutt's account was blocked after she posted details of men who allegedly stalked and threatened her
  • Dutt accused Twitter of being “vile enablers of sexual abuse and violence”

MUMBAI/NEW DELHI: One of India’s best-known women journalists, Barkha Dutt, launched a scathing attack on Twitter Inc. on Tuesday for temporarily locking her account after she posted details of men who allegedly stalked and threatened her.
Dutt said some people had posted and circulated her phone number on Twitter, enabling the harassment, which she said included threats of rape and images of genitalia being sent to her phone.
Dutt tweeted some of the threats and images on Monday, and she included phone numbers and names of the men who allegedly threatened her, after which her account was suspended.
She posted her complaint against Twitter in a tweet on Tuesday, after her account was re-activated.
“I would like to place on record my absolute horror and disgust at Twitter’s encouragement of sexual abuse and gender inequality,” said Dutt, a former managing editor at news channel NDTV and a regular columnist with the Washington Post.
Dutt accused Twitter of being “vile enablers of sexual abuse and violence.”
Twitter said it did not comment on individual accounts for privacy and security reasons and it referred to its rules that users may not publish or post other people’s private information without their express authorization and permission.
“If we identify a Tweet that violates the Twitter Rules, there are a range of enforcement options we may pursue. These include requiring a user to delete a Tweet, and/or being temporarily locked out of their account before they can Tweet again,” a spokeswoman for Twitter said in an email.
The social media platform is already facing scrutiny in India.
Its chief executive, Jack Dorsey, has been called to appear before a parliamentary panel this month to discuss initiatives being taken to safeguard citizen’s rights on social media and online news platforms.
The hearing comes soon after the conservative Youth for Social Media Democracy group accused Twitter of left-wing bias and protested outside its office in New Delhi this month.
Dorsey did not appear at a hearing earlier this month.
A person with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Tuesday the parliamentary panel had written an email to Dorsey, reiterating its demand that he appear at a Feb. 25 hearing.
Twitter declined to comment on whether Dorsey would attend.
Social media giants in India are being put under greater scrutiny ahead of a general election due before May, in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ruling party are seeking re-election.
Several social media companies are overhauling policies to curb misinformation ahead of the vote.