Macron Goes Ahead With Plan to Move Press Out of Elysee Palace

(Bloomberg) -- French leader Emmanuel Macron is following through with his plan to evict journalists covering the presidency from the Elysee Palace, despite criticisms that it might restrict media access to information.

Macron’s office announced in an emailed statement on Wednesday that 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.

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

France’s Presidential Press Association on Tuesday had urged Macron to suspend and revise the plan. Allowing reporters to maintain a press room has helped foster “transparency” around the French presidency, the association said in a statement.

The 40-year-old head of state, who won the 2017 election with a call to modernize France, has had a troubled relationship with the media since assuming office. This summer he was critical of its coverage of a scandal involving a rogue bodyguard.

U.S. President Donald Trump scrapped a plan to move news briefings out of the White House last year after journalists and the White House press association objected.

According to Reporters Without Borders, France ranks 39th for press freedom. Norway is first, the U.S. is 43rd and Germany is 16th.

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