The recent ban on livestreaming parliamentary proceedings via mobile devices has ignited a contentious debate. Critics argue that this decision limits transparency, as it restricts public access to governmental activities. Supporters, on the other hand, assert that it’s necessary to maintain decorum and privacy within parliamentary sessions. The move is seen as a balancing act between open governance and maintaining order within the parliamentary chambers.
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In a recent development, Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Johari Abdul has announced a ban on lawmakers using their mobile devices to livestream Parliament proceedings. According to Speaker Johari, this decision was made because MPs should direct their speeches to the speaker’s chair rather than an online audience, as livestreaming their speeches was seen as a violation of Standing Order 35(1).
The reasoning behind this ban is that the attention of MPs engaged in livestreaming is diverted away from the parliamentary proceedings.
Speaker Johari pointed out that there are already official livestreams of Parliament sessions available on platforms such as the official YouTube channel, RTM, and other media channels. He suggested that if MPs wish to utilize their speeches for any purpose, they can access these livestreams and modify the recordings to suit their needs. The main concern seems to be that when MPs engage in personal livestreaming, their focus shifts away from the parliamentary activities, causing a disconnect.
However, this decision has not been well-received by some opposition figures, including Bersatu’s Datuk Seri Ronald Kiandee. Kiandee criticized the Speaker’s explanation for the ban as “unreasonable” and stated that the excuse given is too simplistic. He argued that in the modern era of sophisticated media, the focus should be on moving forward rather than backward. Kiandee also pointed out that it is extreme to claim that MPs using personal livestream setups are not paying attention to parliamentary proceedings, as MPs often tend to look around when delivering their speeches.
This decision to ban MPs from livestreaming Parliament proceedings via mobile devices has sparked controversy, with opposing views on whether it hinders or enhances the transparency and engagement of lawmakers in the legislative process.