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Journalists not provided press cards, denied entry to Parliament building

(PPF/IFEX) - On 7 June 2007, the Speaker of the National Assembly barred journalists from Pakistan's lower house of Parliament.

According to press reports, journalists who had come to cover the budget session were refused entry to the Parliament building. This is viewed as a retaliatory measure by Speaker Chaudhry Amir Hussain against the 5 June incident in which journalists chanted slogans from the press gallery and were involved in a scuffle. The journalists were protesting harsh amendments to Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) Ordinance.

Only members of the state media, including the Pakistan Television (PTV), Radio Pakistan and the Associated Press of Pakistan (APP), were allowed entry to cover the budget session.

The government issued a notification on 6 June, cancelling the press cards issued to media and had announced that new cards would be issued. However, no new cards were issued and journalists from newspapers, news agencies, private television channels and foreign news organisations were not allowed entry when they arrived at the Parliament building for the National Assembly sitting. The journalists protested the decision and chanted slogans against recent actions against media, especially amendments to PEMRA ordinance.

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