Saturday, March 19, 2005

Backing down?

The Herald reports that Parliament is likely to back down on the issue of excluding independent cameras from the debating chamber when they introduce a public feed of parliamentary debates. But according to the Dominion-Post, this "backdown" will come "provided the flagrant breaches of the rules are addressed". In other words, Parliament is still insisting that all coverage of its business be sanitised. Some backdown!

This simply isn't good enough. The present rules are a deliberate attempt to stymie democratic oversight. They should be removed in their entirety, and the media given free reign to film and photograph what they wish. Information is the lifeblood of democracy, and if we are not allowed to see what our elected representatives get up to in the debating chamber (or even whether they turn up at all), then our democracy is fundamentally compromised.