Parliament in Kiev seeking to shut out the press?

Ukraine's parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, is discussing restricting access for media representatives following inappropriate behaviour on the part of two journalists, with one of them making an obscene gesture to a photographer. The Rada has long been looking for an excuse to hamper the activities of the press in the parliament, commentators criticise.

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Unian (UA) /

At last an excuse to shut out the press

For the members of parliament the incident is a welcome opportunity to do something they have been planning to do for a long time, Unian is sure:

“Journalists who work regularly in the parliament have long since been aware that many MPs as well as their assistants and press spokespersons are ready to confine the press to a box [behind plexiglass] so that only those journalists that the parliamentary group likes have access to the representatives of the people. Already a large number of parliamentarians enter the assembly hall via the government's box in order to avoid inconvenient questions and conversations with the press in the corridors. From session to session the parliament seems to just be seeking a reason to isolate its members from the journalists. Now it has found a pretext (albeit a rather flimsy one) to do so.”

LB (UA) /

Fear and contempt

LB takes a similar view:

“Throughout all eight legislative periods the relationship between the members of parliament and the press has always been characterised by a mixture of contempt and fear. The parliamentarians have therefore puzzled more than once over how to rein in the unruly journalists who collar them as they hurry along the corridors of parliament trying to avoid inconvenient questions. Without doubt, if it was up to the MPs they would gladly put the journalists behind an iron fence. Or banish them from the parliamentary buildings entirely so that they could no longer hamper their own 'productive activities'.”