A prominent photojournalist rebuked the Biden administration last week for allegedly blocking media from observing operations of immigration officials handling the migrant crisis at the southern United States border.
What are the details?
John Moore, an award-winning photojournalist for Getty Images, blasted Biden administration officials for obstructing media access.
In fact, the lack of transparency is so bad that Moore said he was forced to do his job — document the border crisis through the medium of photography — by working from the Mexican side of the U.S.-Mexico border.
Moore said that officials in the previous three presidential administrations did not block journalists from documenting immigration operations.
"I respectfully ask US Customs and Border Protection to stop blocking media access to their border operations. I have photographed CBP under Bush, Obama and Trump but now — zero access is granted to media," Moore said. "These long lens images taken from the Mexican side."
Moore later added, "The photographs in this tweet string were taken with a telephoto lens from across the border in Mexico. Until now, US photojournalists haven't needed to stand in another country to photograph what's happening - in the United States."
I respectfully ask US Customs and Border Protection to stop blocking media access to their border operations. I hav… https://t.co/veggoBwdAe— John Moore (@John Moore)1616165579.0
In fact, Moore said that federal authorities are even removing journalists from areas where migrants are entering.
"The vast majority of river crossings by asylum seekers happen on federal land in south Texas' Rio Grande Valley. The federal govt. controls access to those areas. The Border Patrol has been removing journalists who enter, including recently myself, CBS, others," Moore explained.
Moore went on to say:
There's no modern precedent for a full physical ban on media access to CBP border operations. To those who might say, cut them some slack - they are dealing with a situation, I'd say that showing the US response to the current immigrant surge is exactly the media's role. Photographing Border Patrol agents and immigrant encounters can and has been done respectfully without interfering with operations. Regardless, @cbp public affairs exists to work with media.
And Pandemic restrictions are not a valid excuse to block physical media access, especially to operations that are outside. There are easy alternative options to media ride-alongs. Showing the difficult and important work of @cbp agents in the field, while also photographing immigrants in a dignified way are not mutually exclusive endeavors. Transparency is key, even in a politicized environment