Scribes protest restricted entry in power corridors

Scribes protest restricted entry in power corridors

Journalists in Jaipur protesting against the order that restricts their entry in the assembly premises.

The first day of the monsoon session of Rajasthan assembly witnessed a protest by journalists after authorities had drastically curtailed the movement of scribes inside the Vidhan Sabha premises.

The new order makes areas in the assembly premises, including the offices of the speaker and the ministers inaccessible to scribes. From now on, journalists will be allowed to the press gallery inside the House to watch the proceedings.

The order also bars them from entering other sections of the assembly for procuring House proceeding records or copies of the members' speeches in the House. According to the previous arrangement, scribes earlier had access to the chambers of speakers, the chief minister and ministers.

On Thursday, they were issued entry passes that had a stamp mentioning their accessibility only in the press gallery and press room. Journalists lodged a protest against these measures, in front of Speaker C P Joshi's office and outside the assembly, demanding the withdrawal of the new rules. 

According to scribes, the new rules were an infringement of the fundamental right of the freedom of speech and expression, promised in the Constitution. A delegation of journalists met the speaker and asked him to withdraw the instructions. But the speaker turned down their demand. 

Pink City Press Club's former president L L Sharma who was at the forefront of the protest said that the decision was unfair and should be withdrawn. "We requested the speaker to withdraw the order but he gave a deaf ear", Sharma told DH

The present president of Pink City Press Club Abhay Joshi wrote a letter to Speaker in which he mentioned that the number of passes issued to scribes for covering the House proceedings has been heavily slashed. "The rule of issuing passes to freelance journalists is also cumbersome" 

In a press release issued on Wednesday, the government said that more than 5,000 passes were issued in the last session while only 550 passes have been issued in the present session so far.

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