The White House News Photographers Association

White House photographers issued a statement Friday protesting the release of an official photograph showing President Obama's meeting with the Dalai Lama. The handout photo was produced despite requests by news organizations to have the "closed press" event opened to photojournalists.

The group urged news organizations not to publish or circulate the official photo, which it called "a visual press release of a news worthy event."

In a statement on its website, WHNPA added:

A government photographer is no substitute for an independent, experienced photojournalist. We are disappointed the White House has reverted to their old strategy of announcing a closed press event and then later releasing their own photo.

News organizations and the White House have been at odds over the Obama administration's practice of locking out photojournalists from official events and distributing its own pictures. Several news outlets, including USA Today, have stated they will not use the handout photos except in "extraordinary circumstances."