France's Presidential Press Association has called on President Emmanuel Macron to reconsider his decision to close the press room inside the presidential palace.
In a statement yesterday, the association that represents French and foreign media accredited with the presidency said the press room's closure would be "a lockdown of the Elysée Palace and a decision prejudicial to journalists' freedom to inform and to work."
Macron's office announced plans earlier this year to move journalists to a new site outside the palace with less access to presidential activity. He also recently revamped his communication strategy and team. A press room has been inside the Elysée for more than 40 years under presidents across the political spectrum.
Polls last month indicated Macron's popularity reached a record low since his election in May 2017 amid growing criticism over his policies. His presidency has faced the biggest political crisis of his tenure after a scandal over violence by a disgraced top security aide dubbed as "Benallagate."
Political rivals have criticized him for being arrogant and out of touch with the people. He told a young unemployed gardener last month he could find a job in a restaurant just by "crossing the street," among other controversial comments. It was the not the first time Macron has found himself in hot water after appearing to dismiss the concerns of ordinary people while he pushes reforms aimed at shoring up economic growth. He once called opponents to his reforms "slackers," and criticized union protesters for "stirring up trouble" instead of finding new jobs.
The French leader has had a tense relationship with French media over press access to presidential events and visits since his election in May 2017. Macron's office has increasingly used Facebook, Twitter and other social media to spread his message instead of publicly answering media questions.