Move to give mayor’s office power over press passes stirs controversy

April 8, 2021 – A move to give the Mayor’s office responsibility for press passes that have long been handled by the New York Police Department is generating controversy from all sides.

The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment is on track to take over the issuance, suspension and revocation of press credentials to working journalists, including photographers, thanks to a new City Council bill passed in March.

Advocates of the move cite the NYPD’s handling of police protests last summer, including clashes with journalists, while critics fear it gives notoriously thin-skinned mayors too much control over how they are covered.

“We’re a little skeptical of the change,” said Colin DeVries, president of the Deadline Club, a local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. A big question, DeVries said, is “will the MOME-issued badges create access issues,” including with the NYPD, which is usually in charge of the kinds of breaking news events that require press credentials to get in.

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