Editors’ Guild urges government to remove COVID-19 era restrictions on journalists covering parliamentary proceedings

The Editors Guild of India has written to the speaker and has urged for the restoration of ‘complete’ access to the journalists to the parliamentary proceedings that had earlier been removed due to COVID-19 related protocols.
Image: PIB

The Editors Guild of India has written to the newly elected Lok Sabha Speaker, Om Birla, and Chairman of Rajya Sabha, Jagdeep Dhankhar to urge them to lift restrictions on journalists covering House proceedings.

These letters were also shared with the Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition, and leaders of all parties in both houses.

These restrictions on media were placed when the Covid-19 protocols were enforced which gave limited access for media personnel, including those with permanent accreditation. With the pandemic under control, the Guild has asked for restoring full access to ensure transparent reporting of the parliamentary proceedings.

The letter also states that the Press Advisory Committee has not been formed again in the last few years. The Press Advisory Committee’s is a body that has responsibilities which include recommending the grant of permanent passes to representatives from newspapers, news agencies, and media who wish to cover House proceedings from the Gallery or any other parliamentary events. The body was founded in 1929 under the president of the Central Legislative Assembly Vithalbhai Patel. It is appointed by the Speaker and is made up of 25 journalists. It also makes recommendations on various matters.

As per the letter, around a thousand journalists have been thus far permitted to cover the proceedings. However, only a small number of them are allowed and given permission.

“The country has fought the scourge and moved on and we hope limiting access is also done away with”, the letter reads, “The decision to provide unfettered access to journalists was in practice since the Constituent Assembly and continued by the first Parliament. The objective was to keep the people abreast with the work of their representatives, developments inside the House and dynamics outside, through media, which is vital in a parliamentary democracy.”



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