Macron’s Press Corps Says Eviction From Elysee Hurts Press Freedom

(Bloomberg) -- France’s presidential press association put out a rare statement blasting French leader Emmanuel Macron’s decision to follow through with a plan to deport the press corp’s working space outside the Elysee palace, saying the move “harms freedom of the press.”

“At a time (the press) is attacked from all fronts, this unilateral decision is incomprehensible and unacceptable,” the Paris-based association said in a statement on Thursday. Macron is “trampling on a tradition of transparency” and behaving like “the owner and not the tenant” of the Elysee presidential palace.

The APP association’s statement follows Macron’s office announcement late on Wednesday that the president was going ahead with a plan to evict journalists covering the presidency from the long-standing press corp office located in the courtyard of the Elysee Palace. The presidency announced the decision despite repeated criticism that it might restrict media access to information.

A spokesperson at the Elysee Palace declined to comment.

Nearby Street

The press room -- which was first established inside the courtyard of the 18th-century building in the mid-1970s -- is to be moved to a nearby street by the end of the year. The new office will be located in a building owned by the presidency and not part of the original palace compound.

“This new press room will offer improved working conditions for a greater number of journalists,” Macron’s team had said in the statement.

All four major news agencies with permanent accreditation to the French presidency -- including Bloomberg News -- had penned a joint letter earlier this year calling for the presidency to reverse its decision.