NUJ condemns banning of reporters operating from Parliament lobby

Esther Landau

KUALA LUMPUR: The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) Peninsula Malaysia has condemned the banning of members of the media covering Dewan Rakyat proceedings from carrying out their duties from the Parliament lobby.

President Mohd Taufek Razak in a statement released today said the ban clearly depicts that Malaysia does not practice media freedom.

He stressed that it should not be happening with the Parliament, which in the first place, is a symbol of democracy in the country.

“NUJ believes it is a way to prevent journalists from obtaining direct access on information from Parliament.

“As long as journalists do not violate the rules of Parliament, the ban can be considered a crackdown on journalists from accessing any information worthy of news,” he said.

Earlier today in the Dewan Rakyat, Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia, who made the ruling, said members of the media can only work in the media centre.

He said that he was informed that reporters (in large number) converged in the lobby area, to get comments from parliamentarians and ministers while proceedings take place and the rule is to be carried out immediate effect.

Pandikar claimed that it have resulted in some members of Parliament, including himself, to feel uneasy.

He also said the pressmen had turned the lobby into a picnic area. Several Opposition parliamentarians stood up and objected to the ruling.