New Delhi: Ahead of the inauguration of the new parliament building on May 28, the Press Club of India on Thursday, May 28, wrote to Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla demanding unrestricted media entry to the lower house’s press gallery.
“As the new Parliament building is being inaugurated on May 28, 2023, we would like to draw your kind attention towards the continuous and unrelenting restrictions imposed on the entry of journalists and reporters covering Parliamentary proceedings over the last several sessions,” the PCI said in a letter to Birla.
The letter said that a large number of journalists who have covered parliament proceedings for the last several decades are “still being denied the opportunity” to do so despite having permanent press gallery passes.
The restrictions on media persons were enforced during the budget session of 2020, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the PCI said, but even after the precautionary restrictions have been lifted, the entry of journalists has not eased. The PCI reminded the speaker that his attention to the issue has been raised repeatedly during the previous sessions of parliament, adding that the “superfluous restrictions” have “no logical basis or rationale”.
Because the restrictions are not supported by a tangible reason or argument, the PCI said it “strongly feels that “these curbs are part of a wider agenda aimed at controlling the media and restricting freedom of press in order to impede free flow of independent news stories and information to the people of largest democracy of the world”. The PCI also demanded that the dysfunctional Lok sabha Fress Advisory committee be reconstituted immediately.