Leader of the Opposition in the assembly Siddaramaiah on Saturday expressed reservations about Speaker Vishweshwara Hegde Kageri's decision to restrict print and electronic media camerapersons from covering proceedings and said media restriction was 'fatal' for democracy. The former Chief Minister observed that the presence of electronic media cameras inside the House was the key to ensure "transparency" and asked the Chief Minister to discuss the issue with the Speaker and find a solution.
"You (Speaker) have stopped electronic media cameras. electronic media is the medium to reach common man easily...
It is the medium for the people to know and see what is happening inside the assembly," Siddaramaiah said. Speaking in the legislative assembly, he said the Speaker has the prerogative on how to run the House, but the media too is an important part of democracy like the legislature.
"In my opinion, any act of infringing on medias rights and independence is a blow to democracy... For ensuring transparency I feel that cameras should be there. CM should speak to Speaker on this matter and find a solution," he said, adding that any move to "restrict" functioning of the media was 'fatal' for democracy.
Intervening, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister J C Madhuswamy said the public can still view proceedings as Doordarshan provides live feed to private TV channels and it was not a "ban" as was being alleged. The Speaker cannot be blamed for the move, the Minister said.
"For about 10 years this was being contemplated upon one or the other way," he said Madhuswamy pointed out that it was also the outcome of the Speakers' conference and that several states too have this model in line with Parliament. Siddaramaiah said during his government's tenure too there was a proposal to have its own channels for the council and assembly in line with Lok Sabha TV, "but we did not go ahead with it." Journalists and camerapersons on Friday had staged a demonstration here, condemning the Speaker's decision to 'bar' the media from telecasting House proceedings..
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