White House press secretary Jay Carney met with journalists representing various press associations Tuesday to discuss the media’s access to the president. 

The journalists at the meeting argued for “consistent, meaningful access” to President Obama for photographers and the full White House press corps. 

“Group members were encouraged by Carney's recognition that independent press access to the president is essential to democracy, as well his willingness to address the group's concerns by agreeing to engage in an ongoing dialogue with media representatives, led by the WHCA,” said Julia Whiston, executive director of the White House Correspondents Association.  

Carney and his staff met with representatives from the WHCA, the American Society of News Editors, Associated Press Media Editors, White House News Photographers Association, National Press Photographers Association and representatives of the television network press pool.

This meeting comes after a tense exchange between reporters and Carney at a White House briefing last week. Many questioned why press photographers were not allowed more access during Obama’s recent trip to South Africa for the Nelson Mandela memorial.

“We're going to work with the press and with the photographers to, you know, try to address some of their concerns,” Carney responded during the exchange.  

Nearly 40 news organizations signed a letter in November arguing that previous administrations permitted more access to the president.

White House photographer Pete Souza, they pointed out, has long been the main gatekeeper of presidential photos during Obama's administration.