New Delhi: The government has scrapped a proposal under which journalists accredited to Press Information Bureau (PIB) would have to undergo police verification every year for renewal.
Accredited journalists would not need to undergo security verification every year to get the PIB cards renewed, said Frank Noronha, Director General (Media and Communication) of the government of India.
However, a list of all cases for renewal will be sent for approval before issue to the Chief Security Officer (CSO), MHA, as is the normal practice, he said.
PIB cards give unhindered access to journalists to various ministries and departments, except some sensitive areas like the Prime Ministers' Office, Defence Ministry and External Affairs Ministry.
Sometime back, the Home Ministry had asked PIB to ensure that all accredited journalists, numbering over 2,500, must have police verification at the time of yearly renewal of their cards, triggering concerns that the process would cause delays and difficulties.
The proposal was finally scrapped after consultations between the Ministry of Home Affairs and the PIB, sources said. PIB had also written a letter to the MHA on the issue, the sources said.
The move for annual police verification had been initiated apparently in the wake of espionage in the Petroleum Ministry some months back in which several classified documents were allegedly leaked. Some journalists, staffers of the ministry and a few private people were accused in the case.