(New York, NY) – PEN America and 44 other media freedom organizations jointly filed a friend of the court brief in the appellate case Karem v. Trump this week, urging the Court of Appeals to affirm a federal district court’s ruling to reinstate PEN America member and White House correspondent Brian Karem’s White House press pass. 

PEN America joined press freedom organizations and media outlets including the Reporters Committee for a Free Press, the Associated Press, the Washington Post, the National Press Club, and others in arguing that the district court ruling correctly found the revocation of Karem’s press pass was a violation of Karem’s and his readers’ First Amendment rights. The amicus brief further argues that the Trump administration applied vague, unarticulated standards for reporters covering the president and urges the appellate court to affirm the district court’s ruling.

“The Trump administration seems to look for every excuse to retaliate against journalists who dare to ask difficult questions,” said Nora Benavidez, PEN America’s director of U.S. Free Expression Programs. “This administration has kicked reporters out of press briefings and revoked their press credentials, demonstrating utter disregard for the vital role freedom of the press plays in our democracy. The First Amendment demands more from our government: despite his best efforts, the president cannot silence the fourth estate. This is why we filed our own lawsuit against him in 2018 and why we will continue to hold him to account.”

Last year, PEN America filed its own lawsuit in federal court accusing the president of using the machinery of government to unconstitutionally retaliate against media outlets and journalists for coverage he dislikes. Since that time, the president has demonstrated an ongoing pattern of retaliation against journalists. Read more about PEN America’s lawsuit and its efforts to support the right to free expression in the U.S.


PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.

CONTACT: Stephen Fee, Director of Communications, [email protected], +1 202 309 8892