The finance ministry’s decision to bar even government-accredited journalists from entering its premises without a prior appointment could well stem the flow of information, which is extremely vital to our democracy. It’s true that “leaks" from dubious sources are a problem, but shutting the doors to scribes appears an overreaction. It suggests a distrust of officials as well as journalists. It has been routine for the ministry to keep journalists out for 30 days before the budget, for which secrecy is crucial. But scribes were allowed in a day after its presentation.

This year, those pre-budget curbs stay in place. While “streamlining and facilitating" the entry of mediapersons may seem like a practical aim, it could have the effect of barring professionals who are merely trying to do their assigned job of covering the ministry. In the interests of openness, the ministry would be well advised to rescind the order. The role of journalists as intermediaries between the government and the governed requires them to access as much information as possible. “Sabka Vishwas" is part of the governance mantra of Modi 2.0. The press seeks some trust, too.

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