New Delhi: The Press Council of India (PCI) has sought a report from the Uttarakhand government over its order banning the entry of "outsiders" in government offices at the secretariat.
The Uttarakhand government had claimed that the decision was taken in view of the agenda of Cabinet meetings being leaked to media on several occasions in the recent past. The local media, however, interpreted the order to be a move to reduce systemic transparency. Members of the media felt the order was meant to deny them direct access to information by the government.
"Taking suo motu cognisance of the issue, the PCI chairman had ordered to immediately call a report in the matter from the chief secretary of Government of Uttarakhand," a PCI release said. PCI chairman Chandramauli Kumar Prasad "felt that prima facie, the action of the Uttarakhand government impinged on the freedom of the press," it said.
The order states that outsiders cannot directly make an entry into government offices at the state secretariat.
In case of an urgency, they can meet the employee or official concerned at the reception, it says. Uttarakhand Chief Secretary Utpal Kumar Singh, however, had clarified that the directive was issued to ensure that only authentic information reached the media and was not an attempt to withhold information or to reduce systemic transparency.