The Aam Aadmi Party, which had promised to bring transparency into governance, barred the media from entering the Delhi Secretariat (chief minister and cabinet ministers’ office) on Monday.
After the media was banned from entering the secretariat in the morning, journalists staged a protest in front of the main entrance and boycotted Delhi health minister Satyendra Jain’s press conference, who made them wait for two hours for a press briefing.
When mediapersons sought a reply from him regarding the ban and the minister having arrived two hours beyond scheduled time, he said: “I am not interested in holding a press conference. I was busy with my work. I’ll have to find out and let you know why the media was barred from entering the secretariat.” He was mobbed by mediapersons as he walked out of the room. There was a lot of chaos at the Delhi secretariat as a huge number of mediapersons had been waiting for him in the press room for hours.
After a while he returned accompanied by PWD minister and party spokesperson Manish Sisodia, who held a meeting with the journalists and assured them that things will run as earlier.
“We won’t take any decision to block transparency. The accredited journalists can enter showing their identity cards, while others will be allowed with the permission of the information officer. Everything will function as it used to be earlier. Special arrangements will be made for cameramen and electronic media in days to come,” he said.
Journalists, a lot of them who had been waiting since morning, were later allowed to enter the secretariat after 4 pm. Even after the issue was sorted out, the health minister refused to hold a press briefing saying: “I cannot hold a press conference now as I have to attend a meeting.”
Meanwhile, social welfare, women and child development minister Rakhi Birla told Hindustan Times: “We have so much work that we can’t even spare five minutes for reporters.”
Scores of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) members loitering about in the secretariat, however, created a lot of confusion for the journalists because it seemed unclear for whom these supporters were working.
It was also learnt that mobbing of the ministers at the secretariat on the day of swearing-in triggered this ban of not allowing journalists inside the secretariat.