API Protests Breach of EP Press Room Rules by New I&D-Group

API-IPA has protested the behaviour of members of the new 'Identity and Democray'-group in the European Parliament, during the press conference in the EP press room where they presented themselves last Thursday 13 June. At several instances supporters of the far-right group, who were seated among the journalists, applauded the speakers at the podium. To people watching the press conference on their screens, this gave the impression that journalists were showing support, which was of course not the case.

 API-IPA has protested the behaviour of members of the new 'Identity and Democracy'- group in the European Parliament, during the press conference in the EP press room where they presented themselves last Thursday 13 June. At several instances supporters of the far-right group, who were seated among the journalists, applauded the speakers at the podium. To people watching the press conference on their screens, this gave the impression that journalists were showing support, which was of course not the case.

This is in breach of the rules of the European Parliament's press room, which state that press conferences are not political gatherings and that those present "should refrain from showing approval or disapproval by any means". A colleague who protested was boo'ed and staffers from the group tried to silence him.

API-IPA president Katalin Halmai sent the following letter of protest to the head of the European Parliament's media service, Jaume Duch. The EP press service has confirmed the rules described above. Every group that organises a press conference in one of the EP's press rooms always receives a copy of those rules.

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Dear Jaume,

API-IPA strongly protests the way this morning's press conference by the new political group 'Identity and Democracy' was conducted. During that press conference in the EP press room, tens of supporters of this group – taking seats intended for journalists – on several occasions applauded the speakers at the podium.


This is in clear breach of the EP's 'Rules governing the proper use of the European Parliament's Press Room' (art 6). Colleagues who protested this behaviour were boo'ed and reprimanded by the president of the press conference.


API-IPA considers this totally unacceptable. As stated in the rules, press conferences are not political gatherings, and those present have to refrain from showing approval or disapproval by any means. This behaviour hinders the image and independence of our profession. If the European Parliament cannot guarantee that those who enter the press room respect our work, we must ask to limit access to press conferences to (accredited) journalists only.


By the way, it is not the first time we have problems with MEPs related to this group. We recall the recent incident where access to an Italian press conference of Mr Salvini was restricted to selected journalists, also in breach of the rules. The EP press rooms must remain accessible to ALL accredited journalists. 


We ask you, and the Bureau of the European Parliament, to act to prevent these events from happening again.


Best regards,

Katalin Halmai

President
API-IPA

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