Panaji: The Goa Union of Journalists(GUJ) on Tuesday expressed shock at a new set of “Guidelines for accreditation of media organisation and their representatives” issued by the Goa Legislature Secretariat which proposes to govern passes to mediapersons covering the Assembly proceedings. “The guidelines strike at the very root of the freedom of speech and the right to be informed — both of which are at the core of our fundamental rights as citizens — and more than being an enabler are designed to block access for a majority of media houses and their representatives for covering the Assembly,” said a GUJ press release issued by its president Kishore Gaonkar. It demanded that the guidelines be withdrawn immediately or modified to ensure that no bona fide news organisation and journalist was denied entry to cover Assembly sessions.Naik Gaonkar, president of the GUJ, which represents nearly 200 working journalists, told The Hindu that the body would write to speaker Pramod Sawant asking him to withdraw the guidelines. “Goa is a small state, where very few newspapers have a circulation of more than 15,000 and there is no question of news portals getting 10,000 page views. Going by the guidelines, there will not be more than four journalists who will qualify to cover the assembly session,” he said adding that this was a regressive step in every way and gives the impression that those involved in decision-making are not interested in allowing journalists to cover Assembly proceedings. Interestingly, the guidelines have come a month after a journalist representing a mobile news message service was banned from the Assembly premises after his digital news service gave details related to Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s health. A senior legislative secretariat official said the set of norms were based on the guidelines followed by Parliament for accreditation of journalists.GUJ also demanded that a fresh set of guidelines be brought in consultation with the GUJ and the Press Accreditation Committee of the Goa Legislature Secretariat.