Several media bodies on Thursday wrote to Press Council of India chairman Chandramauli Kumar Prasad, seeking his direction to the Finance Ministry to withdraw its "unwarranted restrictions" on journalists entering its office premises in North Block.
The letter, signed by office bearers of Press Association, Press Club of India, Indian Women's Press Corps and Foreign Correspondents Club, termed the ministry's move as "unilateral and undemocratic".
If such practice continues, all the government offices will be out of bounds for the whole media, it also stated.
A clarification issued by the office of the finance minister on Tuesday said a procedure has been put in place for "streamlining and facilitating" the entry of media persons inside the ministry of finance and "no ban is in place" on the entry of media persons in the ministry.
"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," it also stated.
On Wednesday, the Editors Guild described the Finance Ministry restrictions on the entry of reporters into North Block as a "gag" on media freedom and urged Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to withdraw the "arbitrary decision".
If the finance minister believes that journalists'' access to government offices is causing some inconveniences, the system could be improved in discussions with journalists, the guild said on Wednesday.