NEW DELHI: The Editors Guild of India has written to the Lok Sabha Speaker and the Rajya Sabha Chairman to restore the restricted access to the media to cover the parliamentary proceedings that journalists had since Independence, including during the Emergency when Indira Gandhi had invoked press censorship.
Apart from raising the issue of the restricted access to the press galleries since the beginning of the pandemic, the Guild also flagged the suspension of the Central Hall passes to the senior journalists and no constitution of the Press advisory committee of the Lok Sabha for three years.
In its letter to Rajya Sabha chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar, it said bringing back the restrictions at a time when India remains in the forefront of maximum vaccination coverage remains unexplained and especially when life is near normal in every other sphere of activities.
The Rajya Sabha has re-introduced the restrictions in the budget session after relaxing them in the winter session, introducing the "lottery" system of allowing the access to a journalist only once in five days.
"Seniors recall that even during the emergency, members of the Press who could not get accreditation from the Press Information Bureau for some reasons, were not denied the facility to cover the proceedings," the guild said in the two letters.
It said the Central Hall access to the senior journalists with over 10 years of experience was essential for a close contact between the press and the legislature for keeping the public well informed.
The letters also protested as the suspension of temporary and visiting journalists' passes for two years has put the young members of the media fraternity at a great disadvantage as they cannot pick up nuances of the Parliament process under the guidance of seniors. It is only after a specified period of coverage that journalists qualify to apply for a permanent pass, the guild underlined.
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