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New Delhi: Journalists from various media organisations on Thursday held a protest against certain restrictions imposed on the entry of scribes and camera persons into Parliament, alleging the move is a precursor to a "complete ban" on the spot coverage of parliamentary sessions by the media in the coming days.

They demanded that all restrictions imposed on their entry into Parliament premises and the Press Gallery must "immediately" be lifted, and media persons be allowed to perform their professional duty.

The Editors Guild of India (EGI), Press Association, Indian Women Press Corps (IWPC), Press Club of India (PCI), Working News Cameraman Association and various other organisations of journalists extended their support to the protest. A limited number of scribes, photojournalists and camera people working with the print and electronic media are being allowed to enter Parliament premises during sessions since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic last year.

"This (restriction on the entry of media persons into Parliament) was started in the name of Covid in 2020 but now it has gone too far. I think if it is not protested now, it will become a tradition. Media is going to be kept out in the name of Covid," senior journalist Rajdeep Sardesai said, addressing a protest meet of the journalists organised on the premises of the PCI.

He said that a lottery system being followed at present to issue passes to journalists for entry into Parliament is giving "no access" to the scribes working with smaller newspapers. Press Association president Jaishankar Gupta said the issue needs to be seen from "a larger perspective" as it is not just about restrictions on the number of journalists entering the Parliament premises during the sessions.

PCI president Umakant Lakhera said that he had raised the issue with the authorities, requesting them to lift all restrictions on the entry of media persons into Parliament but all went in vein. "Democracy cannot function without media," he said.

"If the Government can allow the opening of cinema halls, malls, tourism, and other things, why is there a restriction on the media's entry into Parliament? It is not sending out a good message. Pandemic is a concern but issues can be resolved," IWPC president Vineeta Pandey said.  




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