The Karnataka government on Friday, July 16, barred the media from recording videos or taking photographs of ministers or officials in the corridors of Vidhana Soudha citing “discipline and security issues”. The state government, imposing the restrictions on media, issued a circular on the issue and stated it inconvenienced movement.
The circular, issued by the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms reportedly at the behest of Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, mentioned that media persons filming videos of ministers during legislature sessions or on other occasions in corridors blocked the movement of VIPs and caused inconvenience to the public and the staff, according to a report in The New Indian Express.
The DPAR circular also stated that the media persons have been designated a place at the Kengal Hanumanthaiah Entrance of Vidhana Soudha and can shoot or click videos and photographs from the entrance only. Personal assistants of the ministers have been directed to make provisions for news conferences, media bytes and other meetings with the press to be either held in meeting rooms or ministerial chambers. If they fail to comply with the same, action will be initiated against the violator, the circular read.
This is not the first time that media movement in the state legislative building has been restricted. In September 2019, guidelines were issued by the state government that said only 150 journalists chosen by the government would be given entry in the Vidhana Soudha, the Vikas Soudha, and the multi-storeyed Secretariat building. The guidelines were issued at a time when the state government was mulling over declaring the state legislative building and surrounding areas as a high-security zone with a 100-member security force guarding the premises. However, it was not enforced.
The guidelines were first proposed when the Congress-JD(S) coalition government was in power. In 2019, the BJP government had restricted the recording of Assembly proceedings and the Speaker Vishweshwara Hegde Kageri remained firm on not allowing the proceedings to be recorded in spite of opposition.
In 2018, the then CM HD Kumaraswamy had also imposed restrictions on media persons entering Vidhana Soudha, Vikasa Soudha and Secretariat; but, was revoked since the government received flak from the opposition leaders and media, reports said.