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Himachal Pradesh: Order seeking character certificates from ‘journalists’ for covering PM’s Bilaspur rally withdrawn


Bright Times News: For access and security passes to cover Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s daylong visit to Himachal Pradesh tomorrow, all journalists must present a character certificate. Following the cancellation of his final rally in the state, scheduled for September 24 in Mandi due to poor weather, all eyes will be on the prime minister’s visit tomorrow.

The decree from the district administration has caused a significant uproar.

Even journalists from the state-run media, including as All India Radio (AIR) and Doordarshan, have been asked to provide certificates of “character verification,” in addition to those working for privately owned print, digital, and news television outlets. Police also formally informed the public about the situation on September 29, 2022.

A list of all press writers, photographers, videographers, and teams from Doordarshan and AIR, as well as “a certificate of their character verification,” were requested in the notification from the District Public Relations Officer (DPRO).

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“By October 1, 2022, the certificate of character verification may be affirmatively delivered to the office of the Deputy Superintendent of Police, CID, Bilaspur. This office will decide whether they are allowed entry to the rally or meeting “stated the notification.

AAP Spokesperson Pankaj Pandit responded to the police notification by telling India Today TV that this is the first time in his 22-year journalism career that he has seen such an absurd demand.

“It is not the first time that Modi Ji has visited the state. A humiliating requirement to provide a character certificate is made in an effort to control media coverage “explained Pandit.

Naresh Chauhan, the principal spokesperson for the Himachal Congress committee, also denounced the administration’s demand and claimed that it violated press freedom.

When contacted, the DPRO Bilaspur declined to issue security passes using the official identity cards, stating that the character certificate was required instead. Even the digital ID cards used by journalists were required to have an official stamp.

This formality is required of everyone. The SP and CID departments are requesting the character verification certificates, according to DPRO Kuldeep Guleria.

Ironically, thousands of people who will be brought in to the event won’t be asked to provide any identification while the journalists were requested to show certificates of character verification.

Sanjay Kundu, the chief police officer in Himachal Pradesh, stated following the news: “The Hon. Prime Minister’s visit to Himachal Pradesh on tomorrow, October 5, 2022, is open to all journalists. Their coverage would be made easier by the Himachal Pradesh Police. We regret any inconvenience.”

In addition to opening an AIIMS campus in Bilaspur, Himachal Pradesh, Prime Minister Modi will speak at a public gathering there. He’ll also take part in the Dussehra festivities in Kullu.

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