MATT chief writes House Speaker after just 5 House seats reserved for media
Ken chee hing
There will only be five seats available for media in Parliament to cover the 2022 budget on Monday.
This was confirmed by the Director of Communications and Production of Parliament Colleen Holder in response to a letter sent to Speaker of the House Bridgid Annisette-George on Sunday by the new President of the Media Association (MATT) Ira Mathur.
In his letter to Annisette-George, Mathur highlighted the constraints placed on coverage of the debates in Parliament due to the ongoing pandemic.
Parliament had said five seats were reserved for the media, not just for Monday’s budget coverage, but for all parliamentary coverage going forward.
“Media photographers are categorized as journalists. On Budget Day in particular, their work speaks much louder than written words in reflecting the truth and accurately reflecting events to the nation. of Parliament are of excellent quality, they do not represent the objective of the journalist, “Mathur wrote to the President.
She then asked Annisette-George if permission could be granted for one fully vaccinated photographer per hour in the bedroom alongside the four print media reporters, with all physical distancing protocols being followed. Mathur promised that the photographers would not travel during the session.
“Please consider this matter to be more important to journalists than just being allowed to take a photo. It is the feeling of being excluded from their job on the most important day,” Mathur wrote.
His letter was forwarded to Holder – a former TV news reporter – who responded later on Sunday.
Holder told Mathur that the media can decide who makes up the five people who will occupy the media gallery. She said that as of the last count Thursday, parliament had only received the names of four journalists to cover the work of parliament (not just the budget).
“The five media seats really require journalists / photographers to occupy those seats from where they can report. There is no movement in the Chamber unless they go to the media center to hold interviews if a Member is inclined to meet. them over there, ”Holder said in his response letter.
She said Parliament would not be able to accommodate a rotating group of photographers, “as this would involve disinfecting the seats after each person (photographer) has left.” She suggested that the media houses get together and decide which photographer would be sent to cover the proceedings who could then share photos with all the media houses.
Holder reiterated that this photographer must remain in the designated seat in the media gallery at all times. The five media staff will then be allowed into the post-budget press conference room to meet individually with MPs.
She also recalled that the state television media TTT will provide a “clean feed” to media houses wishing to avail themselves of it. All additional names (of fully immunized media staff) should be submitted to Corporate Communications Manager Jason Elcock.
Holder said that, as previously reported, media will be allowed to photograph and interview MPs entering or exiting the Red House at the Abercromby Street gate. Arrangements will be made for the use of the rotunda for interviews in the event of rain, Holder said.