Hundreds of Journalists were gathered to protest the denial of access of parliament to cover its proceedings.
Journalist bodies staged a protest against arbitrary restriction on journalists by government from entering the parliament premises and paving hurdles in the journalistic process.
Hundreds of Journalists, photo journalists and writers were gathered to protest the denial of access of parliament to cover its proceedings.
On December 1, Press Club od Indian has called a protest against these restrictions. The club in a tweet said, “For 5 sessions, citing COVID protocols, the Govt has kept most media persons out of the Parliament. We have submitted two memorandums to @loksabhaspeaker, & despite assurances, restrictions remain in place Tomorrow (Dec 2) at 1pm we are meeting at PCI to raise our voices. Join in.”
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All India Trinamool Congress has also extended its support to the protest. The party, in a letter handed over to senior journalists — Umakant Lakhera and Vinay Kumar at the PCI meeting said, “The Chief Minister of Bengal and the Chairperson of the All India Trinamool Congress, Ms Mamata Banerjee, along with the entire Trinamool Congress parliamentary party wish to express our complete solidarity with the journalist fraternity on the issue of restricted access to parliament.”
The ruling party in West Bengal added, “Parliament is the heart of our democracy and reporting on it is a cherished democratic tradition. A free and robust media is the soul of a parliamentary democracy. Right to free speech, freedom of expression and thought are the foundations of a vibrant democracy.”
Press Club of Indian, an organization for Journalist and Media Professionals had organized the protest against the restriction imposed on coverage of parliament proceedings.
The PCI has demanded that restriction imposed on the journalists should be revoked.
The Journalist further demanded;
- Restore the entry of all journalists having permanent passes to the Parliament complex and the Press Gallery.
- Implement the previous decision taken by the Hon’ble Speaker, Lok Sabha, in July 2021 to allow all journalists holding permanent passes into Parliament.
- Restore entry of veteran journalist into Central Hall of Parliament.
- Restore the L&D category for senior and veteran journalist as a mark of honour of their long services in the profession.
- Reconstitute Press Advisory Committee at the earliest.
Senior TV journalist Rajdeep Sardesai said that in a tweet, “Solidarity is the only way to make your voice heard” and urged the speaker of the both houses to resolve the issue.
“Journalist bodies come together to protest denial of access to parliament to regular beat and senior reporters. Solidarity is the only way to make your voice heard. Hopefully LS speaker @ombirlakota and RS chairperson @MVenkaiahNaidu will review the issue” the news anchor tweeted.
For the unversed, earlier in 2020, BJP led central government had restricted the media from entering the premises of the parliament in the wake of raging Covid 19 cases. Since then, media professionals are not allowed to visit the media galleries in the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and the Central Hall.
Congress leader Mallikarjun Khadge also wrote a letter to the Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiyah Naidu against not allowing journalists inside the parliament. In a letter addressed to the Rajya Sabha speaker Mr. Khadge said, “I am writing to convey my deep anguish and shock that for the fifth consecutive session of Parliament, only a handful of representatives of media organisations are being allowed access to the Press Gallery. Senior journalists’ access to Central Hall has been totally stopped. They are also not allowed to interact with Members of Parliament and that too selectively.”