Wednesday, June 25, 2008

An injustice by Parliament on the Press


DEWAN Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia has rescinded the ruling restricting media personnel's movement in the Parliament lobby. This was decided on Wednesday after meeting the Backbenchers Club.


RESTRICTING journalists to an area in Parliament House can only be interpreted as an act to undermine the effectiveness of journalists from carrying out their work as professional news gatherers.

If journalists are not free to move about in Parliament, what chance is there for an open and free press?

In what has been touted as an era of opennes and liberalisation in so far as press freedom in concerned, the new ruling on the freedom of movement of journalists goes against what the Government has been promoting - that the media is more free now than ever before.

How can that be when they can't even get near the news sources - be they ministers, backbenchers, ordinary MPs! And when the media 'boycott' media conferences as what was done yesterday, someone is going to blame the media for being arrogant and irresponsible.

It is also obvious that whoever made that ruling - and already we read passing-the-buck statements from several Parliamentarians - does not know how the media operates. It seems that the powers-that-be is passing this message to the media - we'll call you when we need you.

And this is the kind of attitude that can spell trouble in the long run. I've not met a politician who doesn't need the press, no matter how reluctant the politician may appear in the beginning.

The media has to stand united on this one. Government media organisations (Bernama and RTM) may have no choice but to still provide coverage. Even then, they should do so under protest and stand in solidarity with their fellow scribes.

I believe the Press was not even consulted before the new ruling was introduced. Before the Press can take up issues on injustice, suppression and wrongdoings, the Press must first stand up for the injustice done unto itself.


Anonymous said...

"Parlimen tarik balik larangan petugas media bergerak bebas di lobi"

Mungkin benar, isu keselamatan di dalam Parlimen tidak boleh dikompromi. Jadi usaha2 utk memastikan ianya selamat mestilah dibawak berbincang semula.

Anonymous said...

True. This ruling can never be implemented if the MPs themselves don't initiate it.

Many MPs are worried. They felt "bengang" because the media seem to be able to 'ambush' them anywhere in Parliament. Some even follow them into the john!

Pay a visit to parliament and one would realise that there's no exclusive area for anybody in the lobby. Even govt officers. Everybody have to compete for a decent place to sit (at the lobby). If you don't sit at the lobby, where else to sit? It's an annoying situation because many are just chit chatting loudly, giggling, laughing and dozing off on the sofas provided. Sadly, many of them wear media tags.

Some even stretch out on the carpets. Some cavort with MPs at the cafe, again talking and laughing loudly, smoking, probably to show off how close they are to certain VIPs. These VIPs of course are obliged to "belanja" these shameless fools. Surely this is not the way to get scoops.

News Head Honchos (editors)should once in a while "turun padang" and monitor your people in the field.

Some of your "journos", are quite ignorant/arrogant. I've heard MPs complain that they behave like they are the YBs, celebrities, untouchable even.

I'm of the opinion that the recent ruling is just temporary, just "to pull the leash every now and then".

No, I don't support the ruling but I knew something like this is going to happen and it did. Maybe the parliament people should have called-up the media bosses first to air their grouses.

Mohd. Ramesh

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