Karnataka chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy. Photo: Mint
Karnataka chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy. Photo: Mint

Kumaraswamy proposes restrictions on media inside Karnataka Vidhana Soudha

Karnataka government would allocate a 'separate room' for journalists where ministers and officials would come and share information directly with them

Bengaluru: Karnataka chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy on Tuesday said that the government would allocate a ‘separate room’ for journalists where ministers and officials would come and share information, if any, directly with the press--a development that is being viewed as a gag order to safeguard his cabinet from being confronted with uncomfortable questions.

“I have given directions to give you (media personnel) a separate room where you can call anyone to this room and get the information that you want there itself," he said.

His statements on the arrangements for the media are part of the newly proposed restrictions of movement for the common public and alleged middlemen in the corridors of Vidhana Soudha, the seat of power, in Bengaluru.

The statement by Kumaraswamy coming weeks after he blamed the media and its lack of support for his government causing him to have an emotional breakdown at a Janata Dal (Secular) felicitation programme.

Almost three months since the Congress and JD(S) joined hands in a post-poll alliance and assumed office, the administration has already faced its fair share of troubles starting with cabinet expansion, presenting a full fledged budget and statements by legislators among other issues from both parties, that tested the stability of the government. Kumaraswamy has attributed much of his government’s trouble to the media.

However, Kumaraswamy said the newly placed restrictions on the media should not be viewed as a ‘ban’.

He said that the constant haranguing by the media at either the ministers or officials chambers on in the hallways, was causing difficulties in discharging their duties.

Barring a few, most of the cabinet have stayed away from the media on important topics of governance on various departments, making it that much harder to gain access to the ministers, most of who are first timers.

A senior Congress leader, on the condition of anonymity, said that the CM could have requested the media and streamlined the process instead of imposing a blanket ban.