On Thursday, several media bodies wrote to Press Council of India Chairman Chandramauli Kumar Prasad, urges the Finance Ministry to withdraw its “unwarranted restrictions” on journalists entering the office premises in North Block. 

The letter was signed by the office bearers of Press Club of India, Press Association, Foreign Correspondents Club, and Indian Women’s Press Corps has termed the move as “unilateral and undemocratic”.

If such types of practice continues, all the government-run offices will be out of bounds for the media, it said. 

On Tuesday, a certification was issued by the office of Finance Minister said that a procedure has been initiated for “streamlining and facilitating” the entry of media person inside the Finance Ministry and “no ban is in place” on the entry of journalists in the Ministry.  

It further stated, “We earnestly request you to intervene and direct the ministry to withdraw the unwarranted restrictions on media. Considering the gravity of the situation it will be helpful if you can take suo motto action on this serious issue.”

The Editors Guild has described the Finance Ministry restrictions on the entry of reporters into North block as a “gag” on media freedom, urges Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to withdraw the “arbitrary decision”.

If Ms. Sitharaman believed that journalists’ access to government offices are causing trouble, the system needs to be improved in discussion with journalists, said the Guild.

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