Nazri: I will bring up media ban with Cabinet

nazri-azizPETALING JAYA: Tourism and Culture Minister Nazri Aziz says he will propose that a space be allocated for media personnel at the Parliament lobby, and that discussions on the issue will be held with Dewan Rakyat Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia.

His remarks follow a new ruling made by Pandikar yesterday, barring journalists from the lobby area. According to the ruling, reporters will only be allowed to cover sittings from the media centre and the press gallery.

Pandikar had said many MPs were uncomfortable that the lobby had become so crowded, and compared it to a “place for picnics”.

He added that any media official found breaking the ruling would be barred from covering the Dewan sitting.

However, Nazri said that Pandikar only had the best interests of the House in mind.

In a report in The Star, the minister said he would propose to the Cabinet that space be allocated for media personnel at the lobby.

“For those (ministers and lawmakers) who want to speak to the press, they can walk straight to that area,” he was quoted as saying.

“Once I get permission from the Cabinet, maybe the minister responsible (Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Azalina Othman Said) can deal with the Speaker.

“I will also speak to the Speaker. He is a decent man and does things in the best interest of the House,” he said in the report.

Nazri also told the daily that some ministers, especially those from “sensitive ministries”, did not like being “ambushed” and were unable to reveal information to the media.

Calling the relationship between ministers and MPs and reporters a “love and hate affair”, the Padang Rengas MP said the media should also be understanding.

“We don’t want you to ambush us. There are things we don’t want to say, so we avoid you,” he was quoted as saying.