No Ban On Media In North Block, But Entry on Prior Appointment, Clarifies Finance Ministry
Nirmala Sitharaman (Photo Credit: PTI/File)

New Delhi, July 12: Following the restrictions put in place by the Finance Ministry on reporters from entering the North Block, there has been a heated debate going on between the two parties. According to the latest ANI report, Ministry of Finance has said, "This is to clarify that no ban is in place, on the entry of media persons in the Ministry of Finance, North Block. However, a procedure has been put in place for streamlining & facilitating the entry of media persons inside the Ministry of Finance, North Block." Budget 2019: On Nirmala Sitharaman Using Red Cloth to Cover Budget Docs, Congress Says 'Our Future FM Will Bring iPad'

The Ministry further said, "As per directions of FM arrangements have been made for media persons outside Gate No. 2, North Block in form of an AC waiting room where water, tea, coffee, etc are being provided. Facilities for comfortable seating and charging of electronic equipment also provided. The entry of media persons, including those holding PIB Accredited card, will be on the basis of a prior appointment.No other restrictions have been imposed on their inside Ministry of Finance, North Block."

Check the tweets from ANI here:

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also took to Twitter to state that she was trying to streamline the system and clarified that there wasn't any blanket ban on journalist's entry. This decision was not welcomed by the journalist, who on Monday, protested over the government’s decision to no longer allow reporters inside the finance ministry if they didn’t have an appointment.

The Editors Guild of India Wednesday called it “arbitrary… a gag on media freedoms” and sought its immediate withdrawal. According to an Indian Express report, the statement shared by the body quotes, “Journalists do not go to government offices to enjoy the comforts and hospitality of visitors’ rooms designated for them. They go to perform their challenging job of newsgathering. This order is a gag on media freedoms and can even result in a further fall in India’s global press freedom rankings, especially as the contagion can easily spread to other ministries as well.”

The body has urged FM to reconsider the decision at the earliest.