Entry of journalists, film makers into jails across India banned

New Delhi: Entry of journalists, NGO activists and filmmakers into jails for writing articles or taking interviews of inmates has been banned by the government, except under special requests.

The decision came after a series of incidents of jail inmates being interviewed by journalists including British film-maker Leslee Udwin who made a documentary on the December 16 gangrape case which sparked a huge controversy as she interviewed the convicts in Delhi's Tihar jail.

"No private individual/press/ NGO/company should ordinarily be allowed entry into the prison for the purposes of doing research, making documentaries, writing articles or interviews etc," Joint Secretary in the Home Ministry Kumar Alok said in an advisory sent to all states and UTs.

However, state governments may consider allowing visitors/press/ documentary makers if the authorities feel that a particular documentary/ article/ research is for the purpose of creating positive social impact or the proposed work is relating to prison reforms or the authorities themselves decide to invite press/ film-makers to cover a particular event.

If any permission is granted by the head of prison department of a state, the visitor has to submit a security deposit of Rs one lakh.

Those who wish to make documentaries or conduct interviews, they may be allowed only handy-cam/camera/tape recorder but not mobile phones/ papers/ book/ pen.

The jail superintendent himself has to be present at the spot. In case he is absent, the next senior most officer must accompany the visitor.

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