FinMin's media ban: Journalists urge PCI to intervene

A delegation of the Press Association, Indian Women’s Press Corps, Press Club of India and Foreign Correspondents Club called on PCI chairman Justice Chandramauli Kumar Prasad at his office and discussed the issue with him.

As the ban on the entry of media persons into Finance Ministry continued, various journalists' organisations on Thursday knocked the doors of the Press Council of India (PCI), urging it to intervene in the matter and direct the Ministry to withdraw “the unwarranted restrictions on media.”

A delegation of the Press Association, Indian Women’s Press Corps, Press Club of India and Foreign Correspondents Club called on PCI chairman Justice Chandramauli Kumar Prasad at his office and discussed the issue with him.

“The PCI chairman was requested to intervene and direct the Ministry to withdraw the unwarranted restrictions on media. Considering the gravity of the situation, the delegation also urged him to take suo moto action on this serious issue,” the journalist organisations said in a joint statement.

The journalists' organisations termed the ban as an “undemocratic act,” saying “If such move continues, all government offices will be out of bounds for whole media.”

The PCI chairman “assured” the delegation that the Council will enquire into the matter and take up the same “with the appropriate authority,” they added.

“Some journalists also met the Union Finance Minister and tried to convince the Minister about the professional hazards the journalists will face because of this unilateral and undemocratic move of the Government but in vain,” the journalists' organisations said.

The Editors Guild of India (EGI) on Wednesday urged Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to reconsider her decision and withdraw the ban.

“The order is a gag on media freedom and can even result in a further fall in India's global press freedom rankings, especially as the contagion can easily spread to other ministries as well,” the EGI had said in a statement.

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