Reporters from four news outlets were barred from covering a dinner between US President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un as a result of shouting questions at earlier press events.
The reporters, some of whom had asked the leaders questions at earlier meetings, were barred from the dinner between Trump and Jong-Un in Hanoi, Vietnam, earlier today.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said “sensitivities over shouted questions at previous press events” led to the reporters being barred, according to the Washington Post.
Reuters White House correspondent Jeff Mason tweeted that wire reporters from Reuters, Associated Press and Bloomberg had been barred from the dinner.
He added: “AP colleague Jonathan Lemire and I were among those. We both asked questions during the first ‘pool spray’ when the two leaders shook hands.”
Trump and Jong-Un first met for talks over the denuclearisation of North Korea in July last year.
A Reuters spokesperson said: “We are deeply troubled by the exclusion of Reuters White House Correspondent Jeff Mason and other reporters from the dinner between President Trump and Chairman Kim in Hanoi.
“We believe it is essential that government provide access to – and the ability to ask questions of – officials and hold them to account.”
Associated Press White House reporter Jonathan Lemire backed Mason’s claim, saying “several print reporters… were barred from the Trump-Kim dinner after Jeff Mason and I had asked questions of the president during earlier events”.
The Washington Post reported that a fourth journalist from the Los Angeles Times was also blocked from the dinner.
Photographers refused to take pictures of the dinner meeting if no reporters were allowed inside – a move that saw one print and one radio reporter admitted to the dinner, according to LA Times White House reporter Eli Stokols.
In a statement on the decision, Sanders said: “Due to the sensitive nature of the meetings we have limited the pool for the dinner to a smaller group, but ensured that representation of photographers, TV, radio and print poolers are all in the room.
“We are continuing to negotiate aspects of this historic summit and will always work to make sure the US media has as much access as possible.”
Press Gazette has contacted Bloomberg and Associated Press for a response to the ban.
Picture: Reuters/Leah Millis