Simon Ateba has faced challenges during the past few months in the White House press briefing room. The reporter from Today News Africa had his press credentials revoked, leading him to initiate legal action against Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. Ateba’s lawsuit, filed on August 10, alleges that his First Amendment rights were infringed upon. The legal claim asserts that the White House deliberately altered the criteria for hard pass credentials with the intention of obstructing his access to hard pass privileges.
In May, the administration of President Joe Biden introduced fresh regulations for pass holders, which granted them the authority to withdraw press credentials. All journalists in the White House press pool were instructed to submit new applications for their hard passes. During this process, Ateba’s pass was revoked. Today News Africa, his personal website, has limited recognition within the United States. The legal complaint contends that the revised criteria were intentionally crafted to exclude Mr. Ateba from qualifying.
KJP: No no no we’re not doing this.. pic.twitter.com/as2XHrmbiC— Acyn (@Acyn) March 20, 2023
Ateba has engaged in repeated confrontations with the press secretary and fellow journalists. In March, during a visit by the cast of the Apple TV show “Ted Lasso” to the White House, he vociferated at Jean-Pierre. In response, she firmly stated, “We’re not doing this.”
During July, the White House issued a warning to Ateba, cautioning that his press pass might be rescinded if he persisted in interrupting others during the briefing room sessions. The reporter shared this correspondence on X, the platform formerly referred to as Twitter, which acknowledged the occasional necessity for journalists to raise their voices.
BREAKING: Following @washingtonpost hit piece meant to prevent me from renewing my hard pass, the @WhiteHouse and @PressSec office just sent me 'A WARNING LETTER." Here it is:— Simon Ateba (@simonateba) July 11, 2023
We strongly support the important role that members of the press play in covering the White… pic.twitter.com/7EbS9HDpIW
Nonetheless, the communication emphasized that such shouting should cease once the press secretary had designated someone to speak. Ateba, however, continued his practice of shouting over fellow reporters, even beyond that point. He asserted that he was experiencing discrimination.
The letter documented the instances in which Ateba had engaged in shouting over his colleagues within the briefing room.