Kolkata, Jan 15: The West Bengal government Wednesday made public a government order restricting the movement of journalists at the temporary state secretariat Nabanna in neighbouring Howrah district.
The standard operating procedure (SOP) virtually confined the media persons’ free access to the 14-storey seat of governance to the press corner on the first floor.
“After entering Nabanna, media men are supposed to remain only at the press corner on the first floor. Since media men are not issued any entry slip at the visitors’ room, they are supposed to stay at the press corner until and unless they are informed or allowed by the competent authority to go to any other place at Nabanna for the purpose of press briefing or photo session,” reads the statement given to journalists during the day.
The letter signed by a senior city police officer involved with security of the secretariat was addressed to the secretary of information and cultural affairs department.
It said movement of media persons from the press corner to any other part of the secretariat constituted “literally breach of SOP”.
It termed movement without visitor photo entry slips or approval of competent authority as “prejudicial to security of VVIPs and official secrecy of various departments of the State government”.
The letter said the 13th floor, 14th floor and rooftop of Nabanna, which houses the office of the chief minister, chief secretary and home secretary, comprises the core security area and visitors, including journalists could enter only after obtaining a visitor photo entry slip of a designated colour.
For having access to any other area of the secretariat from the second floor to the 12th floor, visitors and journalists will have to be issued a visitor photo entry.
The government order evoked strong reactions from the media, which took it as an effort to curb their movement in the seat of power.