Monday, March 17, 2014

Parliament Hill media to push back against access control

Hill Times
The Parliamentary Press Gallery is pushing back against the Harper government’s unprecedented and sweeping control over access to government officials and information.
Journalists unanimously passed a motion on March 7 at the Parliamentary Press Gallery’s Annual General Meeting asserting the right of journalists to ask questions “in all photo-ops and availabilities with the Prime Minister, Cabinet ministers, and all Parliamentarians, to fulfill our functions as journalists in a democratic society.”
Journalists support the motion in theory, but say it isn’t a boycott. However, they also don’t want future governments to take any pages out of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s (Calgary Southwest, Alta.) unprecedented control over access to his entire government since winning office in 2006.
The Prime Minister does not hold press conferences in the National Press Theatre, there are no longer Cabinet “ins,” or “outs,” there is tight information control across government departments, agencies, and Cabinet ministers’ offices, and the Prime Minister has taken to doing interviews with non-journalists that are nationally televised.

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