Parly Speaker to probe cellphone ban

Herald Reporter
NATIONAL Assembly Speaker Cde Jacob Mudenda has pledged to investigate circumstances surrounding an order by Parliament security personnel last week for journalists in the Press Gallery to switch off their cellphones during commotion that characterised the question and answer session.

Journalists accredited to cover Parliament proceedings were ordered to switch off their cellphones, prompting MDC-T Mabvuku-Tafara representative Mr James Maridadi to raise a point of order seeking clarification on who gave the order and using which parliamentary standing order. Journalists were also warned against using their cellphones in the Press Gallery.

“Members of the Fourth Estate were barred from taking pictures or recording audio and video feed yesterday and it’s an infringement of their rights because this is a public institution,” he said.

‘‘I wanted to find out who gave that order and using what authority because one journalist called (Godwin) Mangudya was forced out of the gallery when he refused,” said Mr Maridadi.

Mr Mangudya is a freelance journalist.

Cde Mudenda then asked Mr Maridadi to bring journalists who witnessed the incident on Tuesday to get a picture of what transpired before he makes his ruling.

“Can you bring one journalist on Tuesday who can approach the chair and I will investigate,” he said.

Journalists use their cellphones to record audio and videos of proceedings or update live blogs for their publications but were forced to switch off their cell- phones during disturbances caused by the MDC-T legislators over the absence of some ministers during the question and answer session.

ZBC, however, continued beaming the discussions live.

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