French media: Elysee press room move trampling transparency

FILE - In this Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018 file photo, French President Emmanuel Macron speaks with the press as he arrives for an EU summit in Brussels. France’s Presidential Press Association has called on President Emmanuel Macron to reconsider his decision to close the press room inside the presidential palace. In a statement Tuesday, Oct, 23 the association that represents French and foreign media accredited with the presidency said the press room’s closure would be “a lockdown of the Elysee Palace and a decision prejudicial to journalists’ freedom to inform and to work.” (AP Photo/Francisco Seco, file)

PARIS (AP) — A group representing France’s presidential reporters has criticized the president’s office “for trampling a tradition of transparency” in its refusal to reconsider its plans to move the press room outside the Elysee Presidential Palace in Paris.

The Presidential Press Association said Thursday it “notes with gravity” an Elysee statement that the new press room will be finished by year’s end and “offer improved working conditions to a greater number of journalists.”

The group said it doesn’t “understand why the non-intrusive presence of journalists in the heart of the palace disturbs.”

It compared the decision by President Emmanuel Macron to U.S. President Donald Trump, who it says “tried to kick journalists out of the White House.”

A press room has been inside the Elysee Palace for over 40 years. Critics say the new location will reduce journalists’ access to government officials.

Macron’s office announced plans earlier this year to move journalists to a new site outside the palace with less access to presidential activity. He also recently revamped his communication strategy and team.

The Associated Press is one of the accredited news outlets that would be required to move out the presidential palace, along with other world news agencies.

Macron’s office said the new press room will accommodate 36 seated journalists, compared to just 16 now.

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