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Security measures implemented by National Assembly commission restrict work of journalists

(IPYS/IFEX) - Journalists from various media outlets have protested against new security measures that have been implemented since 22 October 2008 by the National Assembly's Legislative and Auditing Commission, better known as the "Congresillo".

According to the new regulations, journalists may only occupy the press room and cannot access the offices of the General Secretariat, the Presidency or any upper floor rooms. They must wait for members of the assembly to leave the building before carrying out interviews or obtaining information. Only accredited journalists can enter the Legislative building.

Luis Boada, who has been a parliamentary journalist for many years, told the Andean Foundation for the Observation and Study of Media (Fundación Andina para la Observación y Estudio de Medios, FUNDAMEDIOS) that the new area reserved for the press is restrictive. Journalist José Zapata said that police guard the entire building to prevent journalists from entering restricted areas such as the plenary, the secretariat's offices and the assembly members' offices.

Rodrigo Cáceres, a "Congresillo" administrator, said the new regulations are due to the implementation of tighter security measures in the building. He ruled out the possibility that the regulations might be geared towards limiting the work of the press.

IPYS and FUNDAMEDIOS believe that, although it is necessary to keep assembly members and the administrative personnel that work in the Legislative building safe, it is extremely important to respect the right to inform and be informed, which are part of the new Ecuadorian constitution, and provide journalists with the appropriate conditions to be able to carry out their work.

This alert was prepared by IPYS with information provided by FUNDAMEDIOS (la Fundación Andina para la Observación y Estudio de Medios).

RECOMMENDED ACTION:

Send appeals to the president of the National Assembly's Legislative and Auditing Commission and to the Legislature's general administration office:
- calling for the implementation of measures to ensure that security restrictions do not limit the work of journalists

APPEALS TO:

Fernando Cordero
President
Comisión Legislativa y de Fiscalización de la Asamblea Nacional
E-mail: [email protected]

Rodrigo Cáceres
Administrador
Congreso
Tel: +593 290 0088
E-mail: [email protected]

Please copy appeals to the source if possible.

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