Journalists Stage Protest to Restore Their Entry in the Parliament
Journalists claimed that the move will lead to a "complete ban" on coverage of parliamentary sessions in the future.
Demanding to restore their entry in Parliament, journalists, members of the Press Club of India, held a protest march on Thursday, 2 December. For the last five parliamentary sessions, most of the media persons have been kept out, citing COVID protocols.
Journalists claimed during the protest that the move is a slippery slope and will lead to a "complete ban" on coverage of parliamentary sessions by the media in the future.
Several senior editors, journalists, and camera persons working with various media organisations joined the protest and demanded that all restrictions imposed on journalists' entry into Parliament premises and the Press Gallery must "immediately" be lifted, news agency PTI reported.
Support was extended to the protest various organisations, including the Editors Guild of India (EGI), Press Club of India (PCI), Press Association, Indian Women's Press Corps (IWPC), and Working News Cameraman Association.
While addressing a protest meeting at PCI, journalist Rajdeep Sardesai said, "This was started in the name of COVID-19 in 2020 but now it has gone too far. I think if it is not protested now, it will become a tradition. Media is going to be kept out in the name of COVID-19”, news agency PTI reported.
Press Association president Jaishankar Gupta further emphasised that while entry passes are being issued through a lottery system, journalists who have permanent passes are being denied entry into Parliament.
Meanwhile, the process for accreditation of journalists by the Press Information Bureau, required to enter ministries for the purpose of reporting, has been kept on hold for long by the government, he added.
"If the government can allow the opening of cinema halls, malls, tourism and other things, why is there a restriction on the media's entry into Parliament? It is not sending out a good message to the world. Pandemic is a concern but issues can be resolved," IWPC president Vineet Pandey was quoted as saying.
Later, a memorandum was submitted to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu, urging them to restore the entry of all journalists with permanent passes and sessional passes into Parliament, entry of journalists into the Central Hall, and to reconstitute the Press Advisory Committee "at the earliest", PTI reported.
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