U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

BuzzFeed says its immigration reporter was excluded from DHS border tour

Incident Details

Date of Incident
September 16, 2019
New York, New York
BuzzFeed News

Denial of Access

Government agency or public official involved
Type of denial
Government event
REUTERS/Brendan McDermod

A BuzzFeed news director protested a reporter's exclusion from a media tour of the border with DHS.

— REUTERS/Brendan McDermod
September 16, 2019

BuzzFeed News immigration reporter Hamed Aleaziz was disinvited from a Department of Homeland Security tour of the border on Sept. 16, 2019, according to a letter obtained by CNN's Reliable Sources.

CNN reported that Aleaziz had originally been invited on the media tour with acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan and had provided his personal information for security clearance purposes.

In the letter, BuzzFeed news director Tom Namako wrote to protest the agency’s treatment of Aleaziz. Namako said that while DHS spokesperson Andrew Meehan was visiting BuzzFeed’s offices in February, Meehan said he viewed Aleaziz as a “fair reporter” and repeatedly invited him to take a tour of the border with U.S. immigration authorities.

Namako wrote that Aleaziz had sought to take Meehan up on this offer when he was notified that he would be excluded from the tour.

“We are perplexed and disappointed by your apparent decision to specifically target Hamed, who has always sought your agency’s perspective in his coverage,” Namako wrote. “His exclusion serves only to prevent our audience and the American public from understanding the real situation at the border.”

Neither Aleaziz nor a spokesperson from DHS responded to request for comment.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker catalogues press freedom violations in the United States. Email tips to [email protected].