The press club of India, in a letter to the Lok Sabha speaker, ask for unrestricted entry of journalists into the parliament to cover the proceedings.
Before the inauguration of the new parliament building on May 28, the Press Club of India, on Thursday, addressed a letter to the Lok sabha speaker Om Birla asking for unrestricted entry of journalists to the press gallery of the house.
Image source: ANI news
In the letter to the Lok Sabha, Press Club president Umakant Lakhera and secretary general Vinay Kumar said that before the inauguration of the new parliament building, they would like to shed some light on the relentless restrictions of press entry to cover parliamentary proceedings.
The duo stated that places like malls, schools, restaurants, and cinema halls, all resumed their operations to the pre-pandemic level, except for the parliament. Journalists are still being deprived of their access to the press gallery of the parliament. Journalists who have been covering the parliamentary news for the past few decades were being denied the opportunity to, despite having permanent press gallery passes.
The leaders acknowledged that these were restrictions imposed while keeping in mind the coronavirus period. Long after the pandemic is over, they wish the restrictions to be raised.
The pair mentioned that the restriction of press entry was not backed by any tangible reason or argument. They suspected that this was probably part of a wider agenda to control the media and restrict the freedom of the press.
Image source: The Statesman
Certain political party leaders have also personally approached the Lok Sabha concerning this topic
The office bearers express their concern that despite repeated requests from the press club, several distinguished journalists, and the editor’s guild of India, there has been no action taken on this matter. It is unjustified to pick and choose journalists who can enter the parliament, equal access to information is being denied to the other journalists.
Such practices restrict the democratic exchange of ideas, control public disclosure, and force people to question the transparency and authenticity of the parliamentary system. They urged the speaker to take immediate action on this matter.
Additionally, they mentioned that they were aware that the new parliament building does not have a central hall. They think this attempt was a deliberate one, to create a barrier between the media and the people of the parliament.
The press club also demands that the Lok Sabha press advisory committee should be reconstituted at the earliest. They wish that the speaker looks into this matter with utmost importance and makes sure that necessary actions are taken to solve the situation.