Monday, May 26, 2008

Cameras allowed in after Rudd censorship row

The ABC's managing director has told a Parliamentary Committee an agreement has been reached with the Prime Minister and his media advisers to allow the use of cameras during radio interviews.

Victorian Liberal Senator Michael Ronaldson earlier told the committee the Federal Government was censoring the media.

Senator Ronaldson listed a number of cases of ministerial staff trying to stop members of the media from filming or asking questions of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd when he was in public areas of Parliament House.

He says one case included an ABC cameraman being stopped from filming in an ABC studio inside Parliament House.

Tasmanian Liberal Senator Eric Abetz told the committee the action was a sign of a developing pattern.

"[It was] just breathtaking arrogance for telling the ABC who was and was not allowed into their own studios, as though the Prime Minister now treats the ABC as his own personal fiefdom and he can determine who can and can't enter the ABC studios," he said.

The ABC's managing director, Mark Scott, says in the future if the Prime Minister is doing an interview, a camera will be in the studio.

"The matter was raised at the time by our senior representatives in the Parliament House studio here with the Prime Minister's office and the agreement was reached on how events like this would be dealt with in the future, so it was addressed by the ABC appropriately," he said.


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