Malaysia: Journalists demand equal access to cover parliament

Journalists from non-government owned media outlets were barred from covering Malaysia’s lower-house parliamentary proceedings May 18. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate the National Union of Journalists Malaysia (NUJM) urge the parliament to give equal access to all journalists.

As a result of the media ban, journalists from organisations other than the national news agency Bernama and Radio Television Malaysia were forced to wait outside the Malaysian Parliament in Kuala Lumpur, in the heat. 

After the two-hour sitting, journalists approached members of parliament for their response. At around 11.30 am a journalist from Kwong Wah Yit Poh, a local Chinese daily, fainted and fell on the ground. Soon after the journalist regarding consciousness and was attended to by police and media personnel.

NUJM said a more conducive environment should be provided to journalists if they are not allowed to enter parliament. “If journalists are not given access or entry to Parliament, then provide them with a place with shade or a waiting room, especially during a time when we are facing a pandemic,” NUJM added.

The IFJ said: “The IFJ expresses disappointment at parliament’s failure to reconsider the decision to ban journalists from covering the lower-house parliamentary proceedings. The IFJ urges the government to consult with journalist unions and media freedom organisations to create a safe environment that will facilitate journalists access to information.”  

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on [email protected]

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

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