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Anger as Trump's press chief bars UK news outlets from White House briefing

Donald Trump's press secretary has barred news organisations, including the BBC, from a White House press briefing.

The Guardian and The Daily Mail were also blocked from the meeting on Friday in a move that has angered supporters of a free press's role in a democracy.

Shortly after the US president gave a speech attacking the media as "fake news" and the "enemy of the people", his press secretary Sean Spicer restricted multiple media organisations from entering the daily briefing.

CNN, Buzzfeed and The New York Times, of which Mr Trump has been highly critical, were also denied access.

Mr Trump has previously been publicly critical of the BBC, twice sarcastically describing the broadcaster as "another beauty".

The BBC has sought clarification from the White House on why its representative was denied access.

The broadcaster's Americas bureaux editor Paul Danahar added: "Our reporting will remain fair and impartial regardless."

The White House invited a pool of news organisations that shares its work with other press to the briefing and said it felt "everyone was represented".

But Mr Spicer also invited several other outlets, including the right-wing Breitbart News website, whose former chairman is Mr Trump's chief strategist, Steve Bannon.

Jeff Mason, president of the White House Correspondents' Association, said the organisation was "protesting strongly" about the move.

" We encourage the organisations that were allowed in to share the material with others in the press corps who were not," he added.

Later, Mr Mason said Mr Trump's stance on the media was damaging to American democracy.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "The enemy of the people label is one that we certainly object to, the media is not the enemy of the American people or any people.

"The media is an important and critical part of American democracy and and yes, it is damaging when the president of the United States downplays that or denigrates it, and it's something that we object to and certainly disagree with."

On Twitter, Mr Trump claimed respected news outlets CNN and the New York Times were "FAKE NEWS".


From Belfast Telegraph