WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following recent media reports that brought to light policy changes for the media covering Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (Gitmo), U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, sent a letter to President Obama requesting clarification from the administration. It appears that the administration has changed its media policy towards Gitmo in a way that prohibits members of the press visiting Gitmo from reporting on both the military commission hearings and the detention facility on the same trip. Instead, reporters are forced to take separate trips when covering the two venues.
“Restricting journalists from reporting on both the military commission hearings at Gitmo and the detention facility at Gitmo will directly impact worldwide press access and ultimately result in less transparency,” Inhofe said. “News organizations are cutting costs at every available opportunity therefore this new policy requiring journalists to take separate trips when reporting on both venues at Gitmo will likely result in less media coverage. For an Administration that has promised to be the most transparent, I believe there needs to be clarification regarding the policy change, why it has changed, and who authorized the change.”
The Inhofe letter also seeks explanation for why reporters who routinely cover Gitmo have been given little, if any, notice about upcoming media trips to cover the commission hearings.