A decision by Karnataka assembly speaker Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri to place a temporary ban on TV channels from video graphing proceedings of the house has sparked protests in the state on Friday.
Ahead of the three-day winter session of the Assembly which began from Thursday, Speaker Hegde Kageri had issued orders to restrict camera persons, both electronic and print media, from covering the proceedings of the session.
Around 50 journalists from print, digital and television news organisations, including from both regional and national organisations, have now written to the Speaker asking him to review his decision. The scribes have also joined for a protest against the speaker’s decision on Friday at the Gandhi Statue in Maurya Circle.
Reportedly, the ban on coverage was on an experimental basis and Kageri had stated that ban was not permanent. The Speaker had clarified that the restrictions will be implemented for the next three days after which the pros and cons of it will be weighed.
Media persons will be allowed to cover the session, but they cannot carry cameras inside the house to record the proceedings.
An official of the speaker’s office said that the state-run Doordarshan’s Kannada channel Chandana will provide the video feed of the Assembly proceedings to the private news channels. “As decided by the Speaker, private news channels can also take feed from Doordarshan for live coverage of proceedings as they do in the case of Parliament,” said the official.
Even, all news channels at the national level are banned from recording proceeding inside Parliament of India. The media can only take feed from the Lok Sabha TV and the Rajya Sabha TV for live or deferred coverage of the parliamentary proceedings. The same procedure will be followed from Thursday in Karnataka.
Interestingly, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Thursday disagreed with speaker’s decision and said he will urge Speaker Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri to reconsider the banning of national and regional private TV channels from covering the proceedings of Karnataka Assembly live.
“My government is always committed to freedom of media. I will make a sincere effort and request speaker Vishweshwara Hegde Kageri to reconsider his decision on barring media from telecasting the house proceedings,” Yediyurappa had said in a now-deleted tweet.
The decision to allow private television news channels to cover proceedings inside the Karnataka Assembly was first taken in 1994 when Congress leader KR Ramesh Kumar was the Speaker.
In 2014, during the Congress government, the then Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa had also proposed a ban on television cameras from broadcasting Assembly proceedings inside the house. However, the proposal was not followed up and it eventually lapsed.