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K'taka Govt to Restrict Media Coverage Inside Assembly to Doordarshan, Congress Calls Move 'Shameful'

It is learnt that private news channels will not be allowed to air the Assembly proceedings directly and the Speaker’s officer will now provide the live output, similar to the proceedings in Parliament.

Stacy Pereira | CNN-News18

Updated:October 9, 2019, 7:24 PM IST
K'taka Govt to Restrict Media Coverage Inside Assembly to Doordarshan, Congress Calls Move 'Shameful'
Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa with BJP leader Govind Karjol. (Image: PTI)

Bengaluru: With the three-day winter session of the Karnataka Assembly starting on Thursday, Speaker Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri officially announced certain media restrictions within the Assembly premises.

An order issued by the Karnataka Legislative Assembly Secretary said that only Doordarshan cameras will be allowed inside while other channels can downlink from the output provided, similar to the proceedings in Parliament.

During the HD Kumaraswamy-led coalition’s tenure, the chief minister had come under severe criticism for restricting the entry of the media into the Vidhan Souda building. Kumaraswamy had then instructed the Director General’s (DG) Office to make separate enclosures for media outside the assembly building. However, a furore by journalists had forced Kumaraswamy to revoke that order.

Accusing the BJP of "double standards", Kumarswamy said it was not right for the government to impose such media restrictions. "The media is obligated to show the true colours of the BJP. I will appeal to the Speaker and raise this issue in the House," he said.

The Congress also pointed out the ruling party's “hypocrisy”, terming the move shameful.

“The U-turn policy of BJP Karnataka is in the fore again. While in the opposition the BJP used to shed crocodile tears for free media, BS Yediyurappa had threatened to go on dharna for freedom of the press. When in power, the media has been barred from streaming the Assembly session. Such a shameful act,” the Congress said in a tweet.

After the matter kicked up a storm that the government is "restricting" TV crews from covering the proceedings, Assembly secretary MK Vishalakshi clarified there was no such restriction.

"Don't call it a restriction. On an experimental basis, Speaker (Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri) is making arrangements to provide link to everyone (news channels) through Doordarshan. It will start from tomorrow," said Vishalakshi. "Media can still take the soundbytes."

In 2012, legislators from the BJP had to resign after a clip shot by a private news channel had caught legislators watching porn clips inside the Assembly.

While reporters will be allowed in the press gallery to view the proceedings, cameras will not be given access inside the assembly hall.

(With inputs from PTI)

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