吴添泉也表明，马来西亚中华大会堂总会（华总） 在这方面也全力支持 #马来西亚华文报刊编辑人协会（编协）或相关的媒体组织机构所持的要求政府重新检讨有关决定的立场，希望政府或国会当局纠正。
💢Huazong: Parliament should not restrict media coverage of proceedings💢
KUALA LUMPUR, 21 October, 2020: The Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia (Huazong) too has joined other civil society organizations (CSOs) in calling for review of Parliament’s decision to restrict the media’s coverage of the upcoming Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara proceedings to 15 media agencies.
Its President Tan Sri T.C Goh opines that such a restriction does not augur well for democracy and freedom of speech in the country.
According to a statement from Parliament’s corporate communications unit on Friday, in-house media coverage for the Third Meeting of the Third Term of the 14th Parliament session will be limited to: Radio Television Malaysia (RTM), Bernama, TV Al-Hijrah, TV3, New Straits Times, Berita Harian, Astro Awani, Utusan Malaysia, Sinar Harian, The Star, The Sun, Sin Chew Daily, Nanyang Siang Pau, Malaysia Nanban and Channel News Asia.
The decision was attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic and said to be in accordance with standard operating procedures (SOP) set by the National Security Council and the Health Ministry.
Goh however finds the said excuse as unconvincing and unacceptable. He reminded that, since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, media agencies in the country and the journalists had been working alongside the other frontliners, constantly keeping the public and the government informed of the actual situation on the ground.
“Just like the Members of Parliament and staff, as long as members of the media are complying with the required SOP, they should be allowed access to Parliament to carry out their jobs without any discrimination,” he said.
He further opined that Parliament’s restriction of allowing only one reporter and one and one photographer/videographer from each media agency to cover the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara proceedings, would inevitably put tremendous work pressure on the reporters, photographers/videographers involved. This is in view of the fact that the upcoming proceedings involve the tabling of the 2021 National Budget, besides a host of other important matters, which would be rather challenging and taxing for reporters to cover.
In a statement issued today, Goh thus urged the government and Parliament to reconsider its earlier decision of imposing the said restriction, and to allow access for all media agencies to provide media coverage, by complying with the required SOP.
He said, in a democratic system, it is the people’s aspiration to see a good attendance of Members of Parliament in each and every Parliament sitting, to speak up on pressing issues affecting the people and to seek for effective solutions or policies.
“Likewise, we also hope that the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara proceedings would be properly-and-adequately reported by the media, in order to keep the masses better informed of government’s policies and decisions on various important issues, which would certainly reflect well on government’s transparency, and our democracy as a whole,” he said.
Goh further reminded that Parliament is the highest policy-making institution in the country, hence it should always ensure and encourage the media to play its crucial role as the ‘fourth pillar of democracy’, to hold the government of the day, and the policymakers accountable to the people.