No more cameras in Karnataka Assembly

In a move that drew criticism from the Opposition, Assembly Speaker Vishweshwara Hegde Kageri has restricted camera persons, both electronic and print media, from covering the proceedings of the session starting from Thursday.

His decision, conveyed through the Assembly secretariat, is modelled on the lines of the Lok Sabha Secretariat where Doordarshan provides live feed to private TV channels of the proceedings of the Lower House of Parliament. The Information Department will provide photographs to the print media.

“The decision to provide live feed through satellite connection has been tasked to Doordarshan Bengaluru Kendra on a trial basis. Only reporters will be allowed into press galleries,” read a statement from Secretary, Karnataka Legislative Assembly, M.K. Vishalakshi.

Sources in the Assembly Secretariat said that while similar attempts had been made by Speakers in the past at least thrice, it was Mr. Kageri, who finally took the call. Former Speaker Krishna attempted to introduce it first and similar attempts were made during the tenure of Kagodu Thimmappa and K.B. Koliwad in the past, sources said.

Meanwhile, the move to restrict media has been criticised by the Opposition. “I do not know why such a decision has been taken. Discussions in the Assembly has to be transparent and that is when democracy will flourish. Probably they [BJP] are scared,” former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said. When his attention was drawn to previous attempts to introduce the restrictions, he said that his government had not curtailed media freedom. “They [BJP] are trying to find an alibi.”

Former Minister H.K. Patil said that reforms could be brought in if necessary. “Because they [BJP] are scared, such a decision has been taken,” he added. Former Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameshwara also expressed his ire at the decision.

Appealing to the Speaker not to restrict the media, former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, who himself had several run-ins with the electronic media, said that the decision was bad, and that the issue would be raised in the House on Thursday. “I do not know at whose behest the Speaker has taken a decision. This could be to protect BJP from getting exposed.”

Photo Journalists Association of Bangalore has taken exception to the decision and written to the Chief Minister seeking that the decision be reversed. The Opposition is expected to raise the issue in the legislature on Thursday, as the session begins.

Chairman of the Legislative Council Prathap Chandra Shetty said that he would not take any unilateral decision on restricting camera persons from covering the proceedings of the House. “There will be no unilateral decision on the issue. This will be discussed in Business Advisory Committee meeting in which party leaders would take part. No decision has been made yet,” Mr. Shetty told The Hindu.

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Printable version | Jun 2, 2020 4:44:09 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/no-more-cameras-in-karnataka-assembly/article29630653.ece

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