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Tags Current Affairs

Strict accreditation policy for journalists

Date: 10 February 2022 Tags: Bills & Laws

Issue

A new policy on accreditation of journalists has been issued by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.

 

Background

Accreditations are required by the journalists if they want to access government offices or enter a building hosting constitutional dignitaries.

 

Details

The guidelines tell how PIB accreditation will be granted to eligible journalists. For the first time ever, an entire section for suspension of accreditation has been introduced.

 

Eligibility for accreditation

  • A journalist needs to have a minimum professional experience of five years’ as a full-time working journalist or a cameraperson in a news organization.

  • Veteran journalists having over 30 years of experience and older than 65 years of age, too are eligible. Residents of Delhi-NCR are only eligible for accreditation.

  • Journalists working with digital news platforms are also eligible if they have at least 10 lakh unique visitors every month.

 

Advantages of accreditation

  • Only accredited journalists are allowed to report from the premises where President, the Vice President or the Prime Minister is present.

  • They can protect the identity of their source as they do not have to disclose who they intend to meet when entering offices of union ministries

  • Accreditation for journalists allows them to get included in the Central Government Health Scheme, and some concessions on railway tickets.

 

Suspension of accreditation

  • The previous guidelines issued in 2013 had stated that accreditation shall be withdrawn as soon as the conditions on which it was given cease to exist. 

  • Under new guidelines, accreditation can be withdrawn if their actions are prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India, friendly relations with foreign states, the security of the state, public order, decency or morality or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement of an offence.

  • If a journalist is charged with serious cognizable offence, their accreditation can be withdrawn.

 

Concerns

  • This move is seen as an attempt to try to intimidate journalists or to block information from coming out.

  • Defamation, which is one of the main tools used by powerful people against journalists, has been made a ground for withdrawing accreditation.

  • There is no clarity on who will decide if a journalist’s conduct violates any of the conditions that are grounds for withdrawing accreditation.

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