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The Standing Bureau “In Principle” Accepted Civil Society Proposals Regarding Cameramen’s Access to the Meeting Room

16 March 2016
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On Wednesday, March 16, the Parliament’s Standing Bureau accepted civil society and journalists’ requests regarding cameramen’s access to the Parliament’s meeting room. The Bureau, however, asked them to come up with clear proposals regarding the rotation of cameramen in the room, given that the space provided is not sufficient for all the journalists accredited to the Parliament.

Representatives of media NGOs and mass media in the working group proposed that rotation be managed by the Parliament’s general office for communication and public relations, within the limits of the space available. In this context, Parliament’s Deputy Speaker Liliana Palihovici said after the meeting of the Standing Bureau that “in principle” the space had been accepted and cameramen could have access to the room, but she mentioned that “the Bureau finds the proposal on rotation of cameramen in the room insufficiently substantiated, because the space is limited and requests are more than the space allows.”

Civil society and mass media representatives participating in the working group identified several solutions. Thus, live broadcasts from the Parliament should continue providing images to the televisions interested in live broadcasts and to those who are satisfied with the images compiled by the Parliament’s video director. At the same time, online broadcasting should also be ensured, with media representatives having access to the images from at least 6 cameras/streams. In the Parliament’s meeting room space should be provided (2 balconies) in order to ensure cameramen’s presence, within the limits of the space available. Accredited media outlets should sign the journalists’ (including reporters, photojournalists, cameramen) code of conduct in the Parliament’s meeting room, which shall contain clear provisions regarding journalists’ conduct.

The working group in principle accepted the code of conduct, which, amongst other things, stipulates that “journalists shall have a decent behavior and clothing during their time in the meeting room.” Only the media outlets that will sign the code of conduct will have the right to delegate cameramen to the meeting room.

According to Liliana Palihovici, the Parliament’s Standing Bureau is waiting for the journalists’ proposals on modifying accreditation rules, which currently do not allow cameramen’s access to the plenary meeting room.

The “We want access into the Parliament!” campaign organized by the Independent Journalism Center has been going on for over two years now. Journalists used different forms of protest in order to raise MPs’ awareness about restriction of mass media access to the Parliament’s plenary meetings – they organized flash mobs, signed petitions, and recently several civil society and media representatives, dressed in shirts with the words “Free access for the press,” entered the Parliament’s meeting room. Urgently convened, the Parliament’s Standing Bureau decided to create a joint commission with representatives of the Parliament, the civil society, and the press, in order to find solutions. “If nothing happens in ten days, we will continue our actions,” said IJC executive director Nadine Gogu, member of the working group.