News from Khartoum
Parliamentarians reject decision to bar journalists from entering parliament
Members of Parliament have announced their rejection of the decision to prevent journalists assigned to cover the House activities from entering the premises and stressed their intention to take a stand against the measure, especially that they are against restrictions on freedoms.
MP (Reform Now Movement), Mr. Fath Al Rahman Fidail, has affirmed his rejection of the position of the parliament saying, “We reject this behavior and we will take a stand,”. MP Mr. Mubarak Al Nur denounced the conduct of the National Assembly, saying: “this behaviour does not represent the deputies,”. “As people deputies we are against restrictions on freedoms,” he added, and called on the leadership of the National Assembly to allow all media organs, especially the fourth authority to cover all activities of the parliament without restrictions or dictations from any party.
Meanwhile, the independent MP Abu Al Gasim Bartam said that the Parliament should protect freedoms and defend them rather than undermining them, adding that there is a clear defect some seek to cover up, as he put it. He said that free press represents the voice of the people which reveal corruption of all kinds, and accused the Parliament of deliberately keeping newspapers at bay to block views critical of the election law
It is worth mentioning that Parliament authorities issued instructions banning delegates of newspapers and satellite channels from covering their activities after journalists boycotted the work of the Parliament for two days in protest against their colleague being prevented from entering the National Assembly premises. On Thursday when journalists came to cover the activities of the House, the security operative at the gate told them that they are not allowed to enter the premises and declined to inform them of the source of the instruction, saying: “I have been instructed to deny access to journalists”.
In the same context, the Media Department of the Parliament confirmed its full compliance with the Regulations and the constitution with regard to the role of the press to keep the public informed of the work of the National Assembly. The Department said in a statement today that “although the National Assembly is on a periodic recession until October 2nd, the date set for opening the new parliamentary session, the Department will put new controls in place to deal with delegates of press and media institutions. The statement added that the Regulations of the work of the National Assembly provide that the work of the committees is confidential and is not available to the media, except in cases decided by the administration of the Assembly.
Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states: “Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice”.