Allow coverage of Dewan Rakyat sitting by all media, says NGO

  • Oct 17, 2020
  • Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: A media NGO has spoken out against Parliament administrators for limiting the number of media organisations allowed to cover the Dewan Rakyat proceedings from Nov 2 to Dec 23.

This comes after it was announced yesterday that only certain media companies will be allowed into Parliament due to stringent Covid-19 SOPs.

Those allowed in include RTM, Bernama, TV AlHijrah, TV3, New Straits Times, Berita Harian, Astro Awani, Utusan, Sinar Harian, The Star, The Sun, Sin Chew Daily, Nanyang Siang Pau, Malaysia Nanban and Singapore’s Channel News Asia.

Gerakan Media Merdeka (Geramm), in a statement today, said although the decision was made in view of Covid-19, there should be no move to impose undue restrictions on freedom of the press to carry out duties.

“We call on responsible parties to assist and facilitate broad media coverage by opening up a larger room in Parliament, in compliance with physical distancing requirements.”

It said the media played an important role in ensuring the government remains in compliance with the law.

It added that the annual Budget 2021 will also be tabled during the sitting and the media played an important role in questioning any planned expenditure of public funds.

“Previously, the media members were free to conduct interviews around the Parliament building.

“Geramm hopes the current movement restrictions will not be used as an excuse by any MPs or ministers to avoid answering any questions arising.

“There must be an avenue for the media to access MPs or ministers, who should be present at a designated press conference area to provide any needed explanation.”