Journalists Protest Against Restrictions on Their Access to Parliament Building

A large group of journalists on Thursday protested against the restrictions imposed on media persons covering parliament proceedings by taking out a march from the Press Club of India to Parliament House in Delhi.

The restrictions prevent journalists from accessing Press Gallery, Central Hall, and executive wing in the parliament building, which used to earlier allow them to interact freely with the MPs. The protesting journalists alleged that only a few media representatives were allowed inside now.

While marching, Journalists carried banners that demanded freedom of the press. Their banners read “We are for freedom of Press”, “Azaadi do (Give freedom)”, “Restore entry of journalists into the Parliament”, “Media ke bina loktantra nahi chalega (democracy will not function without media),” “Sansad par censorship nahi chalegi (censorship on parliament will not work)” and “Covid Kaal main patrakaron par pabandi bandh karo (Stop restrictions on journalists in these times of Covid)”.

Demanding the restrictions be removed with immediate effect, and termed the restrictions “arbitrary”, the protest was organized by the Press Club of India, Editors Guild of India, Press Association, Indian Women’s Press Corps, Delhi Union of Journalists, and Working News Cameraman Association.

With a list of five prominent demands, a memorandum was submitted to Lok Sabha speaker and chairman of Rajya Sabha. The demand called for the entry of all journalists having permanent passes to the Parliament Complex and the Press Gallery be restored.

The journalists groups also urged authorities to “implement the previous decision” taken by the Lok Sabha speaker in July 2021 to allow all journalists holding permanent passes into Parliament. The memorandum futher sought to restore the entry of veteran journalists into the Central Hall of Parliament.

As a mark of honour, it demanded that the “L&D category for senior and veteran journalists” be restored in recognising their long service in the profession.

The protest called for the reconstitution of the Press Advisory Committee soon.

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