Journalists warned against recording parliamentary proceedings
Islamabad – National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq on Friday once again warned journalists against video recording proceedings inside the Parliament House, otherwise they would their entry passes would be cancelled.
According to a notice issued by the National Assembly Secretariat any kind of video recording with mobile phones or other gadgets is strictly prohibited.
The ban covers all proceedings including committee meetings, and even speeches of the parliamentarians.
The notice further said that despite several warnings some of the journalists had been found violating the Rules of Procedures and Conduct of Business in National Assembly 2007.
The warning is not restricted to journalists alone, media houses and newspapers have also been cautioned not to entertain live coverage.
It is therefore requested that it should be brought into the notice of the concerned journalists, media houses and newspapers that if Rules of Procedures and Conduct of Business in the National Assembly 2007, must be followed in letter and spirit.
The notice warns that if someone would record proceedings he would not be allowed to enter the premises of the Parliament House.
In case of any future violation, it would be immediately brought into the notice of the Parliamentary Reporters Association for further necessary action, which may result in cancellation of their entry pass to the National Assembly.
According to the speaker, parliamentary rules and regulations do not allow the coverage of proceedings through mobile phones and he also directed the concerned authorities to take action against the journalists who were involved in the recording of the incident.
The reason for the notice according to insiders is a brawl between two journalists.
According to insiders, the reason for the issuance of the threatening letter was the fight between two journalists over broadcasting of a speech by opposition leader Khurshid Shah on television.
Majority of journalists were taken aback by the notice issued by the NA Secretariat and the threat of cancellation of entry passes.
National Assembly takes centre stage in any democratic dispensation. A free press that covers the proceedings of the Parliament is essential to the functioning of a vibrant democracy, said a journalist on condition of anonymity.
It is an attempt to gag media and stop us from performing out professional duties, he added.
The journalist said the ‘threat’ it was synonymous to suppressing media.
It is worth mentioning that till some years ago National Assembly sessions were broadcasted live but according to insiders after repeated ugly incidents of brawl between parliamentarians, the live coverage and recording was discouraged.
It was alleged that most of the fights took place due to inability of National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq to maintain decorum in the house.
For majority of journalists highlighting the Parliamentary Reporters Association in the notice is alarming, as the association has no legal cover.
Many believe the body over the years has become just a public relations organ of the house.
It is worth mentioning here that in the US the testimony of former FBI chief James Comey was broadcasted live nationwide recently. Despite the fact that the former FBI chief hurled serious allegations against the US president, but the White House did not try to influence or stop the live coverage.