Lawmakers want foreign reporters barred from Parliament
It has long been a routine matter for foreign journalists entering the parliament building for reporting. But lawmakers strongly reacted after an Iranian photographer recently took their pictures.
A public representative from southeastern Paktia province, Abdul Hanan Haqwayun, said no country had the right to publish reports about Afghanistan's parliamentary proceedings.
He added Afghan journalists were not allowed by foreign countries to cover their parliamentary proceedings. "We had a visit to Iran. When we entered the Iranian Majlis, they did not allow us to carry pens."
Another MP from Zabul, Dr. Zalmay Zabuli, also called for barring foreign journalists from entering the house. He said Gen. Sher Aziz Kamawal, responsible for Parliament's security, and Qadam Ali Nekpai, in charge of media affairs, be asked in this regard.
"If the officials fail to heed our calls, they should be referred to the Attorney General's Office, otherwise I will not come to the house," Zabuli suggested. To discuss the matter, the house summoned Kamawal, Nekpai and the Iranian photographer, Ali Raza Sharifi.
Sharifi said a branch of the Iranian television had been telecasting news of Afghan Parliament over the past 10 years and he had since been visiting the house. He added he had been introduced through a letter issued by the state television authorities.
Kamawal said the foreign ministry, through a letter, had allowed 19 foreign media outlets to visit the house for reporting.
Nekpai said he had received the ministry's letter through the Parliament Secretariat and forwarded it to the security branch.
But Deputy Speaker Mohammad Alam Ezedyar did not agree with the officials. He insisted under an international rule, foreign journalists could not enter Parliament of a country and Afghanistan should also follow the law.
He said the parliamentary board be consulted on reaching a final decision on the issue. A number of legislators believed foreign reporters did not have the right to enter the house, saying their entry posed a security threat.
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