Journalists accredited with the Press Information Bureau (PIB) are eligible, along with members of their family, for subsidised health services under the Central Government Health Scheme, meant for employees of the Union government. But there are ways in which PIB accreditation is important for a journalist to carry out her professional responsibilities.
The PIB accreditation card has two important advantages. First, in certain events involving the President and Prime Minister, and other Ministers, only PIB accredited journalists are allowed entry.
Second, accreditation allows a journalist to protect her sources. Since it comes after security clearance from the Home Ministry, accredited journalists are allowed to enter the premises of most Union government ministries without prior appointment. She is not required to register or record her presence at the reception, or with any other official in the Ministry.
This firewalls the journalist from attempts at finding out when and on how many occasions she visited the premises, and which officers she met.
The anonymity of sensitive sources is one of the essential principles of journalism across the world. It may take years for a source to start confiding in a reporter. The trust between the journalist and her source is, to a large extent, based on the latter’s faith that his/her identity will not be revealed. This becomes paramount when a source is willing to speak out against a senior official or Minister, or against the policies of the government.
Reporters and photographers with five years of experience as a working journalist, and freelance journalists with 15 years’ working experience are eligible for PIB accreditation. Applications for accreditation are vetted by a Central Press Accreditation Committee headed by the DG, PIB.