Journalists demand restoration of Parliament reporting, write to Birla, Naidu

Journalists demand restoration of Parliament reporting, write to Birla, Naidu
© Provided by The Times of India

NEW DELHI: The Press Club of India (PCI) along with other media organisations staged a protest march on Thursday against the curbs imposed on the media to cover Parliament during the Winter Session, when most other establishments have been opened up, with appropriate Covid pandemic norms.

After a march from the Press Club gates, the PCI office bearers handed over a memorandum on behalf of the journalist fraternity to Speaker Om Birla in person and to the office of Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu.

In an open letter to all the political parties, the PCI pointed out that curbs imposed in markets, cinemas, restaurants and other public spaces at the peak of the pandemic had been lifted while the restrictions on reporting in Parliament remained in place.

“We are concerned that there is a depressing trend emerging to isolate Parliament and parliamentarians from media gaze,” the letter said, adding that the “trend augurs ill of parliamentary democracy and [is] much against the spirit of our parliamentary democracy.”

Responding to the open letter from PCI on November 29, the first day of the Winter Session, Congress, Trinamool Congress, CPM, CPI, BJD were among parties who came out in solidarity with the media fraternity and supported their demands.

While Congress parliamentary leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury raised the issues with their respective chairs, Mamata Banerjee’s TMC posted a letter on social media supporting the journalists. TMC leader in Rajya Sabha held a press conference to flag the issue saying, the curb on the media in Parliament was part of the government’s ploy to keep the people of the country from knowing what is going on in Parliament. “The censorship is meant to keep out real issues from the people,” he said.

“The TMC parliamentary party called “for the immediate restoration of all facilities to the journalists to cover Parliament so that the institution is strengthened… On the first day of Parliament’s Winter Session, the PCI had raised concerns over the restrictions imposed on journalists, barring them from entering the Press gallery,” the TMC letter said.

PCI had also tweeted a letter written by Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla. In the letter, he appealed to the Speaker to ease the restrictions on mediapersons on the Parliament campus and to facilitate the coverage of the Parliament proceedings in a “free and fair manner”

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