It seems that MPs have decided they had suffered enough detailed and sensitive photos, reports and TV programs coming from the parliament’s meeting chamber. No wonder, as thanks to the efforts of journalists seated in the press box, the public has been learning the details of the people’s representatives working lives. We know that these lives are quite lively affairs. In addition to their primary responsibilities, such as speech-making and voting, MPs spend the time away resolving their personal issues, playing games, making phone calls, and even perusing erotic magazines... And then, it has happened…
MPs belonging to the Party of Regions’ faction, who are the ones seated directly beneath the press box, have recently urged the parliamentary authorities to ensure their safety while in the chamber. “I have great respect for journalists and their professional duties, but we need to be protected from their unintentional actions,” Regional MP Oleksandr Stoian said. “Look up and you will see large cameras hanging over us. A camera attachment fell down very recently, barely missing my fellow Regional MP Vechirko. I ask the relevant authorities to protect MPs and give us a chance to work under normal conditions. It can be screens or something else, but we do demand normal conditions for our work.”
Indeed, certain precautions are needed, but erecting barriers is not one of them. “MPs fear they will be hit with a camera. Should it happen, somebody will be held responsible for it,” the leader of the Party of Regions’ faction Oleksandr Yefremov said. “So I would like to ask you, ladies and gentlemen of the press, to have a little more respect for the people you work with.”
Responding to the question that pointed out the non-issue status of the press box over the past 23 years, Yefremov said: “I have worked here for 8 years out of these 23. It is only now that I have to see a journalist leaning over into the chamber with half of their torso out of the press box and holding a camera that surely weighs a few kilograms. If this weight drops down from a five-meter height, I think it will do more harm than just bruising.”
Therefore, should a journalist fall, they, besides the likely injuries, would have been held legally responsible for the accident, while the safety of journalists is not a concern at all.
Perhaps, had our MPs performed their duties in good faith without violating the body’s own regulations, photographers would have less time for them, as there would be no need to lean over the balcony to record so-called “pianists” who press several buttons at once, voting for absent members. MPs have been caught quite often perpetrating such violations of the regulations. For example, the opposition claimed ghost voting on the part of the ruling coalition as recently as on September 19, during the vote on Viktoria Ryliova’s appointment as a judge. First vote had Ryliova receiving 226 ayes (smallest majority possible), but after a short debate, the chamber had to vote again, and the scoreboard showed just 221 votes in favor.
“The Regionals have chosen these seats themselves, they had a real choice, and now they want to switch places with us. The opposition will make most strenuous effort to prevent journalists’ expulsion from the press box,” leader of the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reforms party Vitali Klitschko said.