Congress MP to LS speaker: Lift Covid restrictions on journos covering Parliament

MP's letter highlights how journalists who have covered Parliament for decades still face restrictions under the guise of Covid protocol

Speaker Om Birla (Sansad TV screengrab)
Speaker Om Birla (Sansad TV screengrab)

NH Digital

Manickam Tagore, the Congress MP from Virudhunagar, Tamil Nadu, has urged Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla to lift the Covid-19 restrictions on journalists covering Parliament. Tagore highlighted that many seasoned journalists, who have covered Parliament for decades, are still facing restrictions under the guise of Covid-19 protocol.

In a post on X, Tagore shared a copy of his letter to Birla dated 27 June and stated, "I have written to Hon. @loksabhaspeaker to lift Covid restrictions on journalists covering Parliament. Established journalists are being restricted in the name of curbs. It's time to restore media access and give them their rightful place.

"Preventing them from accessing the Parliament not only hampers their professional duties but also restricts the flow of accurate information to the public. In the interest of preserving the democratic ethos of our nation, it is imperative that all accredited reporters be allowed to cover the proceedings without any hindrance."

"I urge you to kindly reconsider the current restrictions and allow full access to all accredited journalists. Such a move will reinforce our commitment to a free press and ensure that our democracy remains robust and transparent," Tagore added.

 Sharing, Tagore's post, Press Club of India said, "We also appeal to all Members of Parliament across the political parties to raise this issue with the Lok Sabha speaker"

Recently, veteran journalist Sheela Bhatt shared a lengthy post on X detailing her ordeal in obtaining a Parliament pass for media personnel.

"Visited Parliament today to get the pass for the budget session. For aamadmi and aamaurat it’s an impossible job to get a visitor’s pass without knowing a MP or a VVIP. But, not easy for the media, even," wrote Sheela Bhatt.

In 2023, ahead of the inauguration of the new Parliament building, the Press Club and several opposition leaders had requested Birla to lift the restriction on journalists and restoration of pre-Covid-19 rules, but the government paid no heed.

"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 covering parliamentary proceedings over the last several sessions," the PCI had said.

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