The Associated Press will not be covering Thursday’s Republican presidential debate “because of restrictions placed on media access,” according to an advisory the wire service sent out Wednesday night.
In the advisory, the news organization said it will boycott the debate because the event's sponsors, Fox News and the South Carolina Republican Party, “will only allow photos to be taken in the moments ahead of the debate and not during the event itself."
From the AP statement:
These are restrictions that violate basic demands of newsgathering and differ from other debates where more access was granted. Accordingly, the AP will not staff the event in any format nor will the AP disseminate any pool photos taken by another outlet. This is consistent with longstanding policy exercised in coverage of many events.
Should access conditions change, the AP will reassess this decision and expedite a new coverage advisory if warranted.
A Fox News spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
UPDATE: Politico reports that Reuters won’t cover the debate with a photographer, out of similar concerns about media access, but “did not confirm whether it would be going as far as AP and not filing text either.”