PCI urges Indian Railways to restore train facilities given to accredited journalists

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New Delhi, Dec 29 (PTI) The Press Council of India has written to the Indian Railways seeking restoration of train facilities given to accredited journalists which was stopped due to COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.

As per the existing rules, 50 per cent concession is admissible in all classes in basic fares of mail or express trains and in fares of Rajdhani, Shatabdi or Jan Shatabdi trains to accredited press correspondents on professional work.

The same concession is also admissible to spouse/companion and dependent children up to 18 years, of the correspondent while travelling with him/her once in a financial year.

In the letter sent to railway board chairman and CEO of Indian Railways dated December 24, Press Council of India (PCI) secretary Anupama Bhatnagar said, “It has come to the notice of the Council that in wake of the current pandemic, Indian Railways' facilities that were available to the journalists have been stopped.” “The matter was discussed by the Press Council of India and it has been resolved to request the Ministry of Railways to immediately restore the facilities extended to the accredited journalists for travel in trains. I would like to request you to kindly consider the matter,” it said.

“The Press Council of India, a quasi-judicial statutory authority, set up by an Act of Parliament, for the purpose of preserving the freedom of the Press and of maintaining and improving the standards of newspaper and news agencies in India, has been mandated to keep check on such developments which have the tendency to affect the freedom of the press,” the letter added.

PCI member C K Nayak told PTI, “The Press Council of India today unanimously passed a resolution to immediately restore the railway travel facilities to the accredited journalists which was withdrawn during the COVID 19 pandemic following disruption of traffic.” He said the resolution for restoring the facilities was moved by Jaishankar Gupta, who is also a member of the PCI as a working journalist.