The ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) has decided to steer clear of the FTII administration’s decision to restrict entry of journalists into the campus. As reported by Pune Newsline last week, the newly appointed Proctor Mateen Ahmed has issued a notice barring entry for mediapersons without prior approval from Director or Registrar. This is for the first time that such a directive has been brought out at the 56-year-old institute.
The institute’s Visitors’ Policy, a copy of which was provided to Newsline under Right to Information Act in August, clearly lays down a procedure for entry of visitors, including journalists, former students or private citizens. In case of journalists, he or she has to report to the security desk at the main entrance gate and state the purpose of the visit. If that officer/staffer/student they plan to meet confirms to the security department about the visit, they will be allowed to enter after an entry in the record register. The Proctor’s order contravenes this policy.
While FTII chairman Gajendra Chouhan had earlier defended the move saying the Director had a right to decide “who enters the institute and who doesn’t”, Director Bhupendra Kainthola refused to comment. K Sanjay Murthy, Joint Secretary (Films) at the I&B Ministry, also refused to comment. However, Abhishek Dayal, director-coordination at PIB, said on Murthy’s behalf, “As the administrative decisions of FTII are taken at the level of Director, it for him to decide what’s right for the institute.”
Gajendra Badhe, president of the Pune Union of Working Journalists, called it an “undemocratic directive” and said the issue would soon be taken up with the FTII administration. “FTII is a government-run institute funded by public money. A journalist has every right to enter the institute and talk to whoever he wants to. Putting such restrictions on journalists will have an adverse effect on the transparency at the institute,” he said.