No curbs on scribes at Soudha

BENGALURU: It’s official. The state government has decided to drop the idea of restricting the movement of journalists inside Vidhana Soudha and Vikas Soudha.  Evidently moved by widespread criticism to confine journalists to a room in Vidhana Soudha, Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy reportedly discussed the issue on Friday with his officers but turned down their suggestion to clear the air through a clarification as no formal decision was taken to this effect.  Mr Kumaraswamy, who was angry with the electronic media’s reportage of his government, had remarked that the media could telecast or publish as their wont. He also obliquely referred to some of them as touts, saying CCTVs had reported movement of such elements and therefore the government planned to check their presence in the corridors of power and to allow ministers and officers to work without unwanted interruption. 

On the genesis of controversy arising out of the decision to restrict the movement of media persons, sources in the Chief Minister’s office said at a meeting convened to discuss security issues, deputy chief minister, Dr G. Parameshwar, who also holds the home portfolio, reportedly suggested that electronic media personnel lacked a place to wait for interactions with ministers and suggested that a room be earmarked for them.  Top police officers agreed with his idea and conveyed the decision to the government to allot a bigger room for them. “Unfortunately, information was twisted and everybody started saying the government intended to curb the media movement in Vidhana Soudha,” sources added.

Sources pointed out that soon after the attack on Lokayukta Justice Vishwanath Shetty, the city police brain stormed on tightening security around important buildings including Vidhana Soudha and Vikas Soudha. “When the police suggested the idea of restricting the movement of public they did not discuss what should be done about media persons. Therefore, the confusion arose resulting in negative publicity,” sources explained adding that Dr G. Parameshwar had made it very clear that movement of journalists would not be curbed under any circumstances.” Sources, however, said once Vidhana Soudha-Vikasa Soudha-MS Building and Udyog Soudha complexes are included in the high security zone, some changes would be made with regard to entry of public into these buildings. Journalists with accreditation cards, however, would not face any major problems, sources added.

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