Friday, June 28, 2013

Penang state assembly: Utusan reporter barred from covering ceremony

Security guards chased away a reporter from Utusan Malaysia who arrived to cover the swearing-in ceremony of state assemblymen.

In the 9.30am incident, the guards refused to allow Mohd Firdaus Ismail from entering the state assembly compound.

Mohd Firdaus said the guards refused to give him a visitor's pass and told him that it was on the order of his superiors.

"A security guard told me that Utusan reporters are not allowed into the state assembly to cover the ceremony," he told reporters.

Dissatisfied, he held a solo protest by holding a placard written "Transparency Died Here" and moved in circles in front of the main gate.

The newspaper reporter said that his action was to express frustration with the Penang state government which had bandied about freedom of the press.

Mohd Firdaus said the Penang government had previously banned Utusan from covering the state assembly after a motion was tabled in the state assembly.

"But now, we are in the new term of the state assembly. They should present a new motion as the old motion has lapsed," he added.

New State Assembly Speaker Law Choo Kiang said the the security guards had made the mistake of using the old directive.

He said he never prevented reporters from covering proceedings in the state assembly.
"I would like to clarify that the incident occurred because of a technical error by the security guards. I promise that it will not happen again."

Law invited the media to cover the first meeting of the first state assembly session next Tuesday.

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