White reporters banned from political meeting in Georgia church

Organizers of a Wednesday meeting about an upcoming mayoral election asked that only black journalists cover the event at a church in Savannah, Georgia.

“No media (T.V. Radio, etc.) Black Press Only!” read a sign posted on the door of Bolton Street Baptist Church. The Savanah Morning news reports that white reporters were barred from entering the event while multiple black reporters were permitted to enter.

A social media post made by the Trigon Group to promote the meeting says the community gathering was intended to unify support in the African American community behind a single candidate for mayor among multiple candidates. That post also says “Black Media ONLY!”

USA TODAY’s attempts to contact to The Trigon Group via phone and email were not immediately returned.

Video published by local TV station WJCL shows a journalist confronting a candidate for mayor who attended the meeting.

Van Johnson, one of multiple black mayoral candidates to have announced a campaign for the November election, is told by a reporter that he was denied entrance to the meeting.

“I think that’s unfortunate,” Johnson responded.

Johnson also told the station that he believed event organizers had the right to determine who to admit to an event. He suggested he would speak at an event where only white reporters were allowed to attend.

WJCL reported that journalists who were allowed inside the meeting were treated “with suspicion.” The station says that about 50 people attended the event.

The meeting was held as the city’s first white mayor in 20 years, Eddie DeLoach, is seeking re-election this fall.

Contributing: The Associated Press


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