The Editors Guild Of India today issued a statement on restriction of access to the journalists by the finance ministry in North Block of the Central Secretariat in Delhi.
The journalists's body said it "condemns the Union finance ministry's arbitrary decision to deny even government-accredited journalists' access to its offices in North Block, without prior appointment".A "blanket order" is not the answer, it said in the statement.
Here is the full statement:
"The Editors Guild of India condemns the Union finance ministry's arbitrary decision to deny even government-accredited journalists' access to its offices in North Block, without prior appointment. The Guild has no dispute with the ministry that journalists should behave with restraint and responsibility while enjoying their access to the finance ministry. But a blanket order is not the answer. Journalists do not go to government offices to enjoy the comforts and hospitality of visitors' rooms designated for them. They go to perform their challenging job of news gathering. This order is a gag on media freedoms 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. If the finance minister believes that journalists' access to government offices was causing some inconveniences, the system could be improved in discussions with journalists. The Guild urges the finance minister, Ms Nirmala Sitharaman, to reconsider her decision and withdraw this decision."