A press briefing by the Finance Ministry today was boycotted by journalists as they were not allowed to ask questions. In the press briefing (see below) which was held to brief on subjects such as HFC liquidity support, FM’s bankers’ meet and supporting MSMEs, the journalists were told to just take the press release and push off.
This was opposed by the journalists. They told the Finance Ministry officials that if they had simply wanted to give away press release then they could have done that by e-mailing the press release.
This is the second incident when the journalists have complained that Finance ministry is not allowing them to get access to information.
In early July this year, the Finance ministry created a furore in the media circles by issuing a notice which read, “Entry of media persons, including those holding a PIB accredited card will be on the basis of prior appointment.”
The decision was severely criticized by several journalists saying it curbs media’s freedom. Finance Minister even had to issue a statement clarifying that it was a being done as she was trying to streamline the system and that there wasn’t any blanket ban on journalist’s entry.
The Editors Guild of India had issued a statement expressing solidarity with the journalists. “This order is a gag on media freedom and can even result in a further fall in India’s global press freedom rankings, as the contagion can easily spread to other ministries as well,” it had said in the statement.