Democratic Sens. Tom Udall of New Mexico and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire had questions about an incident in which reporter John M. Donnelly reported being pinned by a security officer when trying to question Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Michael O’Rielly at the conclusion of an open meeting, reports Niels Lesniewski of Roll Call.
Lesniewski writes, “‘I appreciate that Chairman Pai has acknowledged that the deeply troubling incident involving FCC security’s mistreatment of a journalist following a recent press conference at FCC headquarters never should have happened. However, I do have concerns that the FCC continues to downplay the account of a respected Washington journalist,’ Hassan said in a statement. ‘As we noted in our letter, this incident is particularly troubling because it seems to be part of a larger pattern by the Trump Administration of hostility toward the press.’
“In his own statement, Udall explained that interactions between federal officials and journalists of the type Donnelly was attempting are commonplace and deserving of protection.
“‘Physical intimidation of working credentialed reporters undermines the constitutional right to freedom of the press, and I would expect a chairman of a federal agency created to ensure public access to information would join Senator Hassan and me in our deep concern,’ Udall said. ‘It is understandable that security was high at the FCC hearing on May 18. But I’m extremely concerned that the FCC security wasn’t able to better balance the need to ensure access and safety.'”
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