Nepal | June 05, 2020

Indian media body asks govt to withdraw restrictions on journalists

Reuters
Share Now:

NEW DELHI: The Editors Guild of India, which represents the country’s newspapers, urged the government on Wednesday to withdraw curbs that have reduced journalists’ access to officials in the finance ministry.

It criticised restrictions imposed by newly appointed Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on the entry of journalists to the finance ministry building in New Delhi.

Sitharaman says she is trying to streamline the system and has denied there is any blanket ban. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has previously been accused of undermining freedom of the press in India.

“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,” the Editors Guild said in a statement.

The restrictions will confine journalists to a porch at the front of the main finance ministry building rather than allowing them to move freely within its corridors, meaning they will only get unscheduled access to officials when they arrive or depart.

Indian journalists say that will reduce the number of source-based stories they are able to produce from the ministry seen as second only to the prime minister’s office in importance because its decisions influence the whole scope of government.

Journalists who met with Sitharaman on Tuesday failed to persuade her to reconsider.

“Entry of media persons, including those holding a PIB (Press Information Bureau) accredited card, will be on the basis of prior appointment,” her office said afterwards in a statement.

Critics have said that freedom of the press has been under attack since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government first took office in 2014 and journalists have complained of intimidation for writing critical stories.

In more than five years in power, Modi has not held one news conference in India. The prime minister’s office is also not accessible for journalists without a scheduled appointment.

India’s ranking fell by two points to 140th out of 180 in the 2019 World Press Freedom Index, lower than countries such as Afghanistan, Myanmar and the Philippines. It ranked 80th out of 139 countries surveyed when the index was started in 2002.


Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Mahakali Hospital isolation ward filled with COVID-19 patients

KANCHANPUR: At least fifteen COVID-19 patients have been admitted to the isolation ward of Mahakali Hospital in Bhimdattanagar Municipality, Kanchanpur district. The isolation ward has a capacity of 20 beds. The hospital has started treatment of COVID-19 since Tuesday. Seven persons — reside Read More...

Prohibitory order imposed in Gulmi, Jumla to contain coronavirus spread

BHAIRAHAWA/SURKHET, JUNE 3 District administrations of Gulmi and Jumla today imposed prohibitory order to contain the spread of coronavirus in these districts. The order will be effective in Gulmi till June 14 and till June 5 in Jumla. Gulmi CDO Bharat Kumar Sharma said the prohibitory orde Read More...

Obama steps out as nation confronts confluence of crises

WASHINGTON: Former President Barack Obama is taking on an increasingly public role as the nation confronts a confluence of historic crises that has exposed deep racial and socioeconomic inequalities in America and reshaped the November election. In doing so, Obama is signaling a willingness to sh Read More...

Malaria drug fails to prevent COVID-19 in a rigorous study

A malaria drug President Donald Trump took to try to prevent COVID-19 proved ineffective for that in the first large, high-quality study to test it in people in close contact with someone with the disease. Results published Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine show that hydroxychlor Read More...

ANFA prez Sherpa apologies for comments on Terai people

KATHMANDU, JUNE 3 The All Nepal Football Association President Karma Tsering Sherpa today apologised for hurting the sentiments of people from Terai region by undermining the sense of nationality in an interview with an online portal. Sherpa came under pressure after a couple of officials Read More...

Hong Kong legislature starts voting on China national anthem bill

HONG KONG: Hong Kong's Legislative Council started voting on a controversial bill on Thursday that would make disrespecting China's national anthem a criminal offence, amid heightened fears over Beijing's tightening grip on the city. The voting came just as people in Hong Kong were set to c Read More...

Hotels in five locations selected for quarantine

KATHMANDU, JUNE 3 Hotels in five locations outside the valley have been selected to quarantine Nepalis returning from COVID-19 affected countries. A meeting held on Tuesday at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) has selected the hotels in Nagarkot, Dhulikhel, Pokhara, Read More...

Enough fertilisers for this year’s paddy plantation: MoALD

KATHMANDU, JUNE 3 The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development (MoALD) has assured that the country will not face shortage of fertilisers required for paddy plantation this year. Due to the border restrictions, the fertilisers that were earlier ordered by Nepal have been stuck at Kolk Read More...