Bhubaneswar: Opposition BJP and Congress on Thursday demanded entry of journalists into Lok Seva Bhawan (State Secretariat) and Odisha Legislative Assembly Press Gallery and Lobby for coverage of news.
Raising the issue during Zero Hour in Assembly, Congress Legislature Party leader Narasingha Mishra said, “Media is the fourth pillar of democracy. However, they have denied entry into the State Secretariat or Lok Seva Bhawan and Assembly lobby, which is detrimental to democracy.”
“The State Government does not want its news to be published because they might not have any good news. That’s why they have restricted the media persons into the Secretariat,” Mr.Mishra told reporters at the House.
Why has the government restricted entry of media into the Lok Seva Bhawan and assembly lobby? he asked. It is needed for a journalist to talk to the MLAs and collect information from them during the assembly sessions, the Congress Lawmaker added.
Joining Mr.Mishra, BJP Chief Whip Mohan Majhi said, “It is true that the journalists are maintaining neutrality. The Covid-19 situation has also improved a lot and the Centre has also revoked the restrictions imposed during the pandemic.”
Mr.Majhi demanded that journalists be allowed to enter the Assembly Press Gallery and Lok Seva Bhawan to cover news as soon as possible.
While journalists are invited to political programmes, there is no point in barring media persons to the government programmes and administrative buildings. What the State Government is trying to cover up by doing this? The BJP leader asked.
Commenting on this issue outside the House, Information and Public Relation Minister Raghunandan Das said this matter comes under the purview of the Home Minister.
“The Home Minister has not made any specific statement on this issue in the House. Such restrictions were there at the national level too. I hope this issue will be resolved soon,” Mr.Das said.
Following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the state government has imposed restrictions on entry of journalists into the Secretariat or Lok Seva Bhawan and the order still continued even though the situation has improved significantly.