Archive for June 24th, 2008

Reporters “wild and dangerous beasts” who must be caged in Parliament?

Are reporters “wild and dangerous beasts” who must be caged in Parliament so that they do not run wild to “ambush” Ministers and MPs?

This is my protest in Parliament at the end of question time over the new restriction barring media representatives access to the lobby with an obscene barricade of the area.

At the beginning of the Parliament meeting today, Penang Chief Minister and DAP MP for Bagan Lim Guan Eng had protested against the ruling as tantamount to a clampdown on press freedom.

In calling for the withdrawal of the clampdown on parliamentary reporters, he said: “There is no justification whatsoever for restricting reporters to a small corner as if they pose a grave danger to security and a threat to the safety of parliamentarians. No MP has ever suffered personal injury or threats from reporters accredited to cover the Parliament.

“By imposing such restrictions merely for the personal comfort and conveniences of certain individuals would contravene the basic spirit of democracy and respect the sanctity of Parliament where reporters can carry out their duties to communicate debate on policy in an accurate and professional manner.”

Regrettably, Guan Eng was booed by Barisan Nasional MPs for taking up the cudgel on behalf of parliamentary reporters, who have also protested and launched a boycott of all press conferences or events outside the parliamentary chamber. Read the rest of this entry »