Guidelines issued for coverage of Parliament’s winter session
Parliament has issued guidelines for journalists covering the Winter session beginning Wednesday. According to these guidelines, “no media person including reporters of print and electronic media shall be permitted to take interviews or reactions or responses inside the portico of Building Gate No. 1, except during general and railway budget”.
“Media persons may move within the Parliament House Estate in a manner which may not obstruct smooth flow of vehicular traffic”.
There are two of the 18-point guidelines issued by the Lok Sabha Secretariat in the run up to the winter session of parliament beginning on Wednesday. The ‘Guidelines for Representatives of Electronic Media including still Photographers’ from the Lok Sabha gave out a few crucial “Dos and Don’ts”.
Among other things, it also categorically said, “Media persons shall observe decorum in consonance with the dignity of Parliament”. However, Parliament officials, when contacted, said such guidelines for media are “routine affairs” and are issued from time to time ahead of parliament sessions.
Another guideline said, “Media persons will not interact or interview or photograph anyone else other than ministers or members of Parliament without permission from the press and public relations wing”. The winter session of parliament generally commences on the third week of November but was advanced this time as the Modi government has been more than keen to pass among others the crucial bills related to Goods and Services Tax (GST).
However, due to some major developments during the inter-session period like the currency ban by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the alleged “politicization” of surgical strikes by Indian army across the LoC to destroy terror launch pads have only made the political mood uncertain. According to sources in various political parties, Mamata Banerjee, Trinamool Congress supremo is likely to visit parliament. In fact, she was expected in the capital on Tuesday. Parliament officials said the guidelines have been issued only to facilitate the media persons discharge their duties professionally while at the same time without any hassle for the security personnel.
The guidelines, however, said, “Under a self-regulatory pool system, two electronic channels (including one visual agency and an electronic channel) will be permitted to cover interviews, near Building Gate No. 1 and 4”.
It further said the reporters may take “prior appointments” with ministers or MPs and “request them to approach the designated media stands for interviews and reactions”.