NEW DELHI: The Editors Guild of India has asked Narendra Modi Government to provide more access to the media and engage more actively with the journalists.
The guild issued a statement on Tuesday saying there was “certain deficit in transparency in the functioning of the government....The Guild calls upon the government to enlarge access and engage more actively with professional journalists and the news media”. The Editors Guild of India, a body of editors of various newspapers and magazines, came out with a statement as the NDA Government had issued a virtual gag order on its bureaucracy and ministers in dishing out information.
The access of journalists to various ministries was being restricted and an eye kept on babus meeting the media persons.
Even the PMO had not appointed a spokesperson, who would regularly interact with the media.
“By delaying the establishment of a media interface in the Prime Minister’s Office, in restricting access to ministers and bureaucrats in Offices and in reducing the flow of information at home and abroad, the government in its early days seems to be on a path that runs counter to the norms of democratic discourse and accountability,” the Guild said in a statement. The statement added that the media would not grudge a government keeping an arm’s length while it is engaged with the core issues of governance. However, diminishing access to information to journalists and the media runs against the grain of democratic functioning in an age of openness, transparency and right to information.
The guild, though, appreciated the government’s move to engage through social media, but added, “A top-down, one-way interaction in a country with limited internet connectivity and technological awareness cannot be the only answer for large masses of readers, viewers, surfers and listeners. Debate, dialogue and discussion are the essential ingredients of a democratic discourse.” The Guild hoped that the ministers and officials would continue to be as forthcoming with the media as they did when marking the completion of 100 days in office and that the PMwould interact with media.