WHNPA Executive Board Statement June 2020

The following is a statement from the White House News Photographers Association executive board addressing several issues we have seen arise in recent weeks. These points, while having bubbled up from similar events, are intended to stand on their own from one another. We are condensing them here for the sake of brevity.

The White House News Photographers Association stands in solidarity with visual journalists of color, and in this moment in history, especially alongside our black colleagues. Having diversity in visual journalism is essential to accurate, complete storytelling. Without diversity, we don’t get the entire picture of what is happening in the world. Without diversity, entire stories are left out of the coverage and crucial perspectives are not included. We encourage newsrooms everywhere to hire more staff members and freelancers of color. We also encourage newsrooms to uplift, train and nurture a diverse workplace.

The White House News Photographers Association also stands in solidarity with all visual journalists who are covering protests. We condemn violence perpetrated against visual journalists, whether by police or protestors, for simply doing their jobs. Journalists must have the ability to freely document public events without being targeted for attack, injury, detainment or arrest. We ask that our public officials condemn violence against journalists and require training for members of the police force on the rights afforded to journalists.

We also continue to stand for the principles of free, ethical and objective journalism by reiterating that visual journalists do not manipulate, edit, blur or self-censor images of people taken in public places, be they members of the public or law enforcement, for anyone’s benefit. As journalists, our mission is to objectively show the world what is happening without fear or favor and without being allied with or taking sides. Law enforcement has plenty of surveillance resources to rely upon without the assistance of our images. Journalistic ethics, once abandoned for the benefit of any one side, cannot be rehabilitated.