MPs, Ministers, and Paper Clips…

By Fahed Khitan

تم نشره في Mon 21 November / Nov 2016. 01:00 AM
  • Fahed Khitan

First; a round of applause for our colleague journalist photographers and their ability to capture the clips of paper Ministers and MPs exchanged, as well as between the Premier and his crew of ministers.

Expectedly, the day following the publishing of many of these clips by “Al Ghad” and numerous other news websites, including one taking by colleague Faris Khalifeh, with ‘Sawalif’, authorities tightened things up for photographers and abstracted their movement on the overhang. Which is what pushed photographers to leave the session in protest.

The administration of the House of Representatives justified their position saying that correspondence between MPs and Ministers entail a level of privacy that should not be violated.

Now in my opinion, I think this does not make sense, at all; photographers did not stalk MPs or Ministers in to their offices and go through their papers. The pictures were taken during a public official session of parliament under the dome. And in such a public official sphere, aired live on TV, nothing is private. There isn’t a corner in that hall, where clips would land, that is by any criteria private; it is neither a house nor a private office.

Strikingly, the images of correspondence captured circulated the Social Media sphere much more than any of the deliberations and speeches by MPs on the Ministerial Statement for Confidence, shunning aside heated and cold speeches, alike. This may have been another motive for MPs and Ministers to corner photographers, and prevent the recurrences of the session before.

However, it seems they do not learn from the expertise of those who preceded them. All along the many previous parliamentary sessions we’ve had, photographers to top themselves fishing for these clips of paper. And in many instances, publishing them caused tension between Representatives and the media; the most famous incident of the sort was the one published by “Al Ghad” back when the 17th House was in session, taken by Mohammad Rafaia, which portrayed the Prime Minister’s mockery of MPs and politicians.

The scale of transparency the current cabinet and House showed as they corresponded “secretly”, over pressing demands MPs would have once had to press the government for prior to the Vote of Confidence to attain, only proves that they have no learned of the past, and do not realise that they are not only under the Dome, but rather under the magnifying eyes of the camera, and therefore need to be cautious.

Perhaps, too, it would be wise to remind our officials up there that they belong to the last of an era when correspondence was via paper. The time of exchanging paper notes for correspondence is over, in the time of the “Whatsapp”, and text messaging even before that.

Is there anyone left out there writing messages and tossing them to someone just meters away from them? Social Media platforms are bringing peoples from all seven continents together, while our MPs communicate still via paper.

While we are at it; the record Vote for Confidence that is, why not just inaugurate the whole thing with a Whatsapp group and invite all MPs and Ministers to join it. That way, it will be impossible for the “clever” photographers to capture the messages, at the same time, it would reinforce unity between the two authorities.