Winter Session of Parliament: Lift restrictions & give open access to media, says RS MP Binoy Viswam

While some of these restrictions have been relaxed for the MPs and the staff in Parliament, they continue to be in place for the press

Binoy Viswam
Binoy Viswam


Communist Party of India (CPI) leader and Rajya Sabha MP Binoy Viswam demanded that media should be given open access to Parliament during the Winter Session, and the restrictions on media from reporting from Parliament and about Parliament be lifted.

Urging that restricted access is ‘unreasonable’ Viswam wrote a letter to the Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday, and said, “These restrictions were only allowed given the extreme circumstances of the situation”.

“However, as the country has now opened up across virtually all spheres, it is unreasonable to keep imposing restrictions on media persons performing this most vital task of reporting from Parliament and about Parliament,” added Viswam.

“In both peace and crisis, the media plays a key role in holding Parliamentarians accountable. Restrictions on access to media must only be made in extraordinary circumstances and for a limited time period only,” argued Viswam in his letter to the Chairman.

Talking to NH, the CPI MP said that the Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla while imposing the ‘restrictions’ on media had said that it would be lifted at the earliest in July this year during the Monsoon Session.

The government had then cited Covid protocols to put restrictions on media from entering the Parliament.

While some of these restrictions have been relaxed for the MPs and the staff in Parliament, they continue to be in place for the press. Government has not come with any clarification so far as to why restrictions have not been lifted from the media.

Notably, restrictions on the press started with curtailing of passes issued to journalists to enter Parliament. While all the MPs and Parliament staff are allowed to enter the premises, journalists have to get a daily pass issued after approval from the officials.

As per the new rules, the Rajya Sabha secretariat has given permission only to the official media- Doordarshan, LSTV, and RSTV which have now been merged in one Sansad TV - and the news agencies to attend daily proceedings.

Moreover, a lottery system was put in place under which only 21 other electronic and print media reporters were allowed to enter Parliament during the Monsoon session. Only those whose names figured in the draw list, were allowed to enter the Rajya Sabha.

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Published: 29 Nov 2021, 12:52 PM