BJD softens stand on its paid news allegations

Bhubaneswar: In stark contrast to its tone yesterday, the ruling-BJD was seen noticeably softening its stance on the allegations of paid news against OTV.

The ruling party in a visible digressions from its allegations, today said that it had not blamed the media rather had approached the Chief Electoral Officer seeking inclusion of funds spent on paid news in the election expenses of the candidates.

Moreover, the party has also dragged Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan into the controversy and has spawned a conspiracy theory of its own.

The BJD today said that media has its freedom. It demanded that all the news favouring a particular candidate should be tagged as paid news and included in the poll expenses of the candidate. However, interestingly the BJD is still unable to define what is paid news.

On the other hand, the BJP has targeted BJD saying the ruling party has a very flawed understanding of the concept of paid news. What news should get telecast and what should get priority cannot be decided by a political party, the BJP maintained.

“The media should play its role. Media which has done something with a commercial mindset, we want those expenses to be attributed to the concerned candidate’s poll expenditure,” said BJD vice president Surya Narayan Patro.

“Should the media houses telecast news after seeking permission from the BJD. They are disillusioned. It would have been better on the part of BJD had they learnt the definition of paid news first and then gone to the election commission,” said BJP’s Pitambar Acharya.

On the other hand, based on a tweet from Dharmendra Pradhan on the paid news allegations yesterday, BJD today dragged the Union Minister into the controversy.

“Yesterday the conspiracy was proven. There was no reason for a Union Minister to respond. It was between the BJD, the MP and OTV news channel. His response clarified everything,” said BJD spokesperson Pratap Deb.

“We are okay till the time we are being praised but not when we are criticised. BJD is trying to threaten media. Naveen Patnaik is now being driven by the mentality of the emergency period,” responded Dharmendra Pradhan.