Guidance for the Media using Parliament Buildings during the Assembly Elections

Background
The election period for the Northern Ireland Assembly will begin when the Assembly is dissolved at 00.01, 26 January 2017. This note is to provide advice to the media working in Parliament Buildings during this time.

The rationale behind this guidance is to ensure that candidates who were MLAs in the 2016 to 2017 Mandate do not gain advantage by way of a media interview at Parliament Buildings over other candidates standing for election.

Access to Parliament Buildings and media facilities
Media pass-holders can use their current Assembly passes to access the building and its facilities/studios as normal. Day pass holders can also still access Parliament Buildings and the media facilities. However, the building and facilities will revert to Recess Opening Hours (7.30am to 7pm. Monday through Friday).

Media interviews during dissolution
MLAs cease to be MLAs at dissolution. Interviews with those standing for election will not be allowed in public areas of Parliament Buildings ie Great Hall, Senate Chamber, Rotundas and first floor Gallery. However, such interviews can be carried out in your studios in the basement of Parliament Buildings.

Interviews Outside Parliament Buildings
Interviews cannot be carried out in the area inside the curtiledge (ie the railings at the bottom of the steps) of Parliament Buildings.

Interviews may be undertaken outside this area in the wider Stormont Estate with the agreement of the Department of Finance and Personnel which manages the Estate. Contact telephone number is: 9037 8263.

Pieces to Camera (ie not Interviews)
Media personnel cannot record political or election-related pieces to camera in public areas in Parliament Buildings, ie Great Hall, Senate Chamber, Rotundas and first floor Gallery. However, these can be recorded outside Parliament Buildings inside the black railings and in the wider Estate (subject to approval from DFP).

Providing media footage to MLAs
MLAs standing for re-election are not permitted to use media footage taken when they were MLAs/Chairs/Deputy Chairs of Committees, as part of their election campaign.

If you have any questions about this guidance, please contact:

The Communications Office
Northern Ireland Assembly
Tel: 028 90 521137
Email: info@niassembly.gov.uk

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