Journalist Anant Bagaitkar has resigned as the secretary of Rajya Sabha’s Media Advisory Committee, saying he did not see any “meaningful purpose” in remaining in the position as mediapersons’ access to Parliament had been restricted.
Bagaitkar had sent his resignation letter to the Upper House Chairman Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday.
“When the restrictions all over have been withdrawn or largely relaxed, the media is still facing restrictions in covering Parliament which is the supreme – highest representative body of people of India,” he wrote in the letter.
The Centre had restricted the entry of mediapersons in Parliament early in 2020 since the outbreak of Covid-19. Journalists cannot access media galleries in the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and the Central Hall. For two days in a week, reporters are permitted to be on Parliament premises, but they have no access to the proceedings.
In November, a group of journalists wrote an open letter to the leaders of all political parties in Parliament, protesting against the restrictions on the media. The letter said that there was no need for such curbs now, adding that public places such as malls, restaurants and cinema halls had been reopened.
In his letter on Tuesday, Bagaitkar said that the demand for media’s access to Parliament was legitimate. “But the demand was not accepted and we in [the] media now got an impression that normal access to Parliament is not possible in near future,” he wrote.
The journalist also said that his resignation was not a protest, but a mark of pain of mediapersons who had been covering Parliament.
The Press Club of India in November had also objected to what it described as a “lottery system” of allowing journalists to enter the premises of Parliament. It had added that the restrictions seemed to be a ploy to censor transmission of news and information to citizens.