Group of Belgian journalists were not allowed inside Walloon Parliament for breaching official rules

Europe: A group of reporters was not allowed inside the Walloon Parliament on Friday as the sound engineer was wearing shorts, which is disallowed for men in the officials’ rules.

Three journalists (two men and a woman) working for Belgium’s Francophone public broadcaster, who came to interview a Walloon MP, were not allowed inside by the Parliament’s security guard, as per the broadcaster’s director Charlotte Collin.

However, as there is no law prohibiting women from donning shorts, the group came up with a plan: the soundman would wear Collin’s skirt, and she would take the shorts of her male co-worker.

The military police guard went to find out if this arrangement was permitted and returned to tell the media that everything was in order as it stood: the regulations only reference shorts, not skirts.

“I had to go to the toilet to remove my skirt. Our colleague, Quentin Ceuppens, came to get my skirt and then passed it to the soundman,” Collin mentioned in the statement. “Yet my skirt was shorter than his shorts were.”

For Ceuppens, the “deadpan attitude” of the guard when he explained that the rules were set was particularly comical. “You could see that he felt like bursting into laughter, but his job did not allow him to.”

Once everyone was dressed according to the rules, the interview was then able to take place without any problems in the building, as per the reports.

“There is a decision of the Parliament’s office which states that the wearing of shorts or Bermuda shorts for men is not allowed,” the Walloon Parliament later confirmed. The same source specifies that this rule, which dates back to 2018, is clearly indicated in a document entitled “information for visitors.”

“This rule applies to much other public and non-public buildings. Many institutions have this type of rule without it bothering anyone,” a spokesperson mentioned, highlighting that “decent dress” should be worn in Parliament. “We are not going to make an endless catalogue of what is or is not decent.”

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