Scribes need to provide character certificates to cover PM event in Himachal on Wednesday
In order to cover Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s day-long visit to Himachal Pradesh on Wednesday, all journalists will need to produce a character certificate for access and security passes
In order to cover Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s day-long visit to Himachal Pradesh on Wednesday, all journalists will need to produce a character certificate for access and security passes.
This order by the district administration has stirred a controversy.
Not just the print, digital and news television journalists, but even representatives of the state-run media, including All India Radio (AIR) and Doordarshan have been asked to bring certificates of “character verification”. An official notification in this regard was issued by the police on September 29, 2022, reported India Today.
The notification asked the District Public Relations Officer (DPRO) to supply a list of all press correspondents, photographers, videographers, and teams of Doordarshan and AIR along with “a certificate of their character verification”.
"The certificate of character verification may be supplied to the office of Deputy Superintendent of Police, CID, Bilaspur by October 1, 2022 positively. Their access within the rally or meeting will be decided by this office," the notification read.
The chief spokesperson of the Himachal Congress committee, Naresh Chauhan, condemned the administration's demand and said the move was against the freedom of the media.
According to a report in India Today, DPRO Bilaspur, when contacted, refused to accept the official identity cards to issue security passes, saying that the character certificate was mandatory. He even demanded an official stamp on the digital ID cards of journalists.
“This formality is mandatory to all. The SP and CID departments are asking for the certificates of character verification,” DPRO Kuldeep Guleria said.
The irony is that while the journalists were being asked to produce certificates of character verification, thousands who will be brought in to attend the rally will not be required to produce any identity proof.
PM Modi will address a public meeting in Himachal’s Bilaspur, besides inaugurating a campus of the AIIMS. He will also participate in the Kullu Dussehra celebrations.