White House defends decision to prevent media from covering Obama meeting with Dalai Lama

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The White House is defending its decision to bar reporters and photojournalists from a meeting between President Barack Obama and the Dalai Lama.

White House spokesman Jay Carney says he acknowledges the news media's legitimate interest in covering the encounter. But he says the decision was consistent with past meetings Obama has held with the Buddhist monk.

Obama's meeting with the Dalai Lama drew harsh criticism from China even before it took place. The White House appeared to be trying to keep it low-key to avoid further aggravating Beijing.

At the same time, after declining media requests to photograph the meeting, the White House released its own photo produced by an official government photographer.

The decision comes amid growing media protests about limited access to Obama's events.