Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Reporters Barred From Parliament Lobby

June 24, 2008 12:43 PM
Reporters Barred From Parliament Lobby

KUALA LUMPUR, June 24 (Bernama) -- Reporters are no longer allowed at the Parliament lobby where ministers and members of parliament used to hold their news conferences.

Journalists who arrived at 9.30 am today were kept away from the area by Parliament security personnel who explained that they were merely following instructions of the Parliament administrative office.

The media representatives were informed that they would only be allowed to be at one corner of the lobby which has been designated for news conferences.

The prohibition, which came into force today, means that journalists would no longer be allowed in the lobby area and in front of the cubicles of MPs and ministers. Several guards have been stationed there.

Lim Guan Eng (DAP-Bagan) asked Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Datuk Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, who chaired the first session today, to withdraw the ban on the media representatives.

"I am bringing up this matter because I have received many complaints from reporters that they have been isolated in a remote area which could jeopardise their work," he said. Lim said it was the duty of the reporters to seek clarification from ministers on matters raised in the Dewan Rakyat.

"I feel that this prohibition does not respect the role of the mass media and would jeopardise their efforts in discharging their duty and, therefore, call for the prohibition to be lifted.

"The ban is not in accordance with press freedom and the spirit of Parliament. I hope the ban can be lifted," he said.

Wan Junaidi said the new regulation was the result of an accord reached following discussions among him, Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia and the other deputy speaker, Datuk Ronald Kiandee, during the last session of Parliament to ensure that there was order and control in the lobby area.

"Sometimes, there is disorder in the lobby," he said.

Wan Junaidi said that as Lim had raised the matter in the house, it would be discussed again and the outcome would be announced by Pandikar Amin soon.

Last Friday, a press statement was issued from Parliament restricting five reporters from every news organisation for parliament coverage for security reasons.

The prohibition of reporters from the parliament lobby was raised by Lim Kit Siang (DAP-Ipoh Timur) after question time today. He said Parliament was treating journalists like dangerous wild animals.

"This is an important matter and I hope we can discuss it," he said, adding that the media had joined forces to boycott all news conferences, both by the government and the Opposition as a protest over the ban.

Kit Siang said a decision had to be made immediately because the matter was getting international coverage and felt that restricting the media in the discharge of its duty was an embarrassment and that Parliament had to be more open.

Wan Junaidi said that based on his visits to parliaments abroad, he had never seen parliament lobbies in the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States swarming with reporters.

In fact, reporters covering parliament were never seen in the lobby, he said. ---BERNAMA

Related article: Read rocky'sbru Parliament reporters to boycott Lobby here
Update: Parliament barricades removed (Update 2) here


zaitgha said...

Kak tun,

senang jer to teach them a lesson...boycott them la pulak...do it for a week....

and kononnyer kata now media lagi free from dulu2...

maria a samad (kak ton) said...

Hi Zai,

They did just that! Now siapa ynag rugi kan?

Zaid Ibrahim has pleaded to the journalists to call off their boycott.

Itu lah. Tak habis2, asyik nak control aje.

Nah, sekarang... padan muka!