Thursday, March 17, 2005

EU journalists are asked (reasonably enough) to show "respect for human dignity and the private life of individuals"

Irked by harsh news coverage of legislative perquisites, the European Parliament's leadership has quietly proposed tough restrictions to bar the photographing or filming of members when they are not involved in official duties at the institution's sprawling headquarters
reports Doreen Carvajal in the International Herald Tribune
…earlier in February, the German weekly television magazine Stern filmed members after they had signed for daily allowances, which have drawn intense scrutiny as some legislators have left work immediately after jotting their signatures.

… Regulations allow journalists to take pictures in news conferences and public passages. Legislators can also grant permission to be filmed within their own offices.

But the proposed rules also grant broad powers to the Quaestors to establish temporary zones that are inaccessible to reporters and to bar violators at their discretion.

That potential power worries Jens-Peter Bonde, a Danish member of Parliament and the leader of a 36-member independent group of legislators from 10 countries.

Bonde said the new rules emerged because some members of Parliament "hate it that they're taking photos when they're collecting benefits from the gravy train."

"It's been an ongoing battle for years, he said. "When we have a scandal, the first reaction is not to change the reality, but to change the possibility for making stories about it."

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