M A I N   N E W S

Visiting Parliament? Don’t be byte-happy
Not good for security, discipline, say authorities; Gag order covers bureaucrats too
Aditi Tandon/TNS

New Delhi, December 15
The next time when Team Anna members enter the Parliament House complex to meet politicians, they won’t have the liberty of posing for TV cameras and slamming the government.
Nor will someone like actor Emran Hashmi get a chance of using the media stands in Parliament to promote his film (he was seen telling reporters how special the script of ‘The Dirty Picture’ was.)

The security authorities have barred all visitors to the complex from talking to the media. For a week now, the visitors are being issued passes with a statutory warning: “You are not allowed to interact with the media.”

The visitors’ category would include anyone who comes to the Parliament House complex for a limited purpose and a limited time. Even senior bureaucrats coming to Parliament on a visitor’s pass and for a specific job would be covered under the new gag order. In effect, only MPs and ex- MPs, including all ministers, can officially talk to the Press. The rest cannot.

Parliament security officials recently brought to the notice of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha authorities several instances of bureaucrats and visitors being chased by the media for bytes, leading to chaos in the complex. One of the cases involves Finance Secretary RS Gujral, who was virtually “mobbed” by the media on November 30.  

In another case, Arvind Kejriwal was constantly chased by mediapersons, causing a lot of confusion and security problem. Security officials even told LS authorities that “suitable action” should be taken against mediapersons involved in such cases.

Inquiries by the Tribune reveal that the recent gag order has specifically come after it was noticed that Team Anna was happy sharing with the media the outcome of its meetings with parties at Parliament. The orders were further prompted by Hashmi’s ‘smart move.’ BSP member Dhananjay Singh had written to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar objecting to the star’s act. “This practice is improper. Those on a visit to the Parliament should restrict themselves to the purpose for which they are there. It’s important for the discipline and security of the place. Visitors have therefore been barred from talking to mediapersons,” said a Lok Sabha official. 





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