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Media combines on parliamentary television access

18 March 2005

Media combines on parliamentary television access.

Combined forces of New Zealand’s broadcasting and print media are insisting on open access of television news cameras in parliament.

A meeting of the Commonwealth Press Union Media Freedom Committee (MFC) held this morning viewed plans by Parliament to ban independent coverage of parliamentary sessions in favour of a parliamentary controlled system as “out of touch with the public perception of democracy.”

The MFC chairman, Tim Pankhurst said the committee resolved formally to convey to the Speaker of House, Hon Margaret Wilson that “while there was no problem with the government setting up its own coverage if they want to spend the public’s money in that way, we insist on the right of access of news cameras.”

“In fact the whole position of the current restrictions on what and what cannot be covered by cameras in parliament needs to be revisited and we will be raising that issue with the Speaker at a meeting on Monday. Why should parliament hide from the people that elect them?” said Mr Pankhurst who is Editor of the Dominion Post.

“It is encouraging to see that not all parliamentarians are fully backing this initiative of the government and we look forward to a sensible resolution”, said Mr Pankhurst.

He is to meet with the Speaker on Monday afternoon with CPU Secretary Lincoln Gould and will convey the resolution of the meeting signed by all representatives of the television and radio broadcasting, daily and Sunday newspapers and magazines.

ENDS

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