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Restore access to all journalists to cover parliamentary proceedings, media bodies tell Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla | India News

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NEW DELHI: Representative bodies of journalists in the country including the Press Club of India, Press Association, the Editors Guild of India, the Delhi Union of Journalists and the Working News Cameramen’s Association have written to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla asking him to restore access to all media persons to cover house proceedings in the impending monsoon session of Parliament.
Following deliberations over two days, the media bodies wrote to the Speaker saying that media was barred from covering the proceedings of the Parliament during the budget session of Parliament in 2020, in order to stop the spread of coronavirus. While a handful of media persons representing news agencies and some newspapers were given access, the vast majority of media persons were not granted entry.
Pointing to the “pattern of isolating Parliament and parliamentarians from media scrutiny”, the media organisations, in their letter to Birla, said the restricted access has badly jolted the tradition of Parliament coverage in the name of following Covid restrictions. “The advent of the pandemic has seen unprecedented barriers on those who can access parliamentary proceedings and its work in committees,” the bodies have said.
“It is our humble submission that the Press Advisory Committee of Lok Sabha meeting be held before the Monsoon session beginning on July 19 for disposal of pending application and it must be actively associated with the process of streamlining media access to the press gallery and the Central Hall in the Covid context. Eligibility criteria of individuals must remain unchanged,” they added.
The media bodies also sought the Speaker’s favourable view on the how denial of access to media persons was impacting their employment.
“Especially regional news organisations in various languages employ journalists on a part-time basis for the coverage of Parliament. When access for parliamentary reporting and coverage is slashed, these journalists lose their jobs. Across India, journalists have been rendered unemployed in very substantial numbers on account of the pandemic,” the organisations said.



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