Donald Trump’s press secretary caused outrage after banning a number of news organisations, including the BBC, from a White House press briefing on Friday.
The Guardian and The Daily Mail were also blocked from the meeting 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, the Press Association reported.
The Huffington Post was among those barred from the briefing.
Editor-in-chief Lydia Polgreen responded:
CNN, Buzzfeed and The New York Times, of which Trump has been highly critical, were also denied access.
The Associated Press and Time magazine were not banned but boycotted the briefing in protest.
The move drew widespread criticism on social media...
It also prompted many to tweet about the importance of a free press under the hashtag #FreedomOfThePress, as well posting quotes from some of Trump’s presidential predecessors...
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 Spicer also invited several other outlets, including the right-wing Breitbart News website, whose former chairman, Steve Bannon, is now Trump’s chief strategist.