Ramakanta Biswas

An on-duty journalist of Odisha Television Limited (OTV), a leading Odia news channel, was threatened and misbehaved with by a police officer in full public view in Jajpur district on Thursday. 

Ajay Jena, the inspector-in-charge of Jajpur police station, reportedly threatened OTV’s district correspondent Sanjeev Nayak when the latter was covering farmers’ agitation in front of the district collector's office.

As per sources, Nayak was covering the protest of farmers in front of Jajpur collector’s office when the IIC arrived at the spot. He reportedly tried to interrupt the live coverage of the news and snatch the camera.

After the live coverage was over, the OTV journalist tried to get the IIC’s reaction as to why he tried to prevent him from the news coverage. However, instead of giving his reply, the IIC allegedly misbehaved with him.

When the OTV journalist brought the issue to the attention of the Superintendent of Police (SP) Vinit Agrawal, the IIC lost his cool and resorted to highhandedness.  

In full public view, the IIC abused the journalist and threatened to beat him up. 

Meanwhile, SP Vinit Agrawal said that the matter is being inquired into.

Madhabananda Shanti, a protesting farmer of Naba Nirman Krushak Sangathan, confirmed that the police official shoved and misbehaved with the OTV journalist. 

“It is a very shameful incident. Media plays a crucial role in democracy as it highlights the plight of the farmers. However, the police here have become the goons of the Odisha government. The police have been suppressing the farmers, now doing the same with the media,” he said.

“A situation similar to murder the democracy was created here by the police. The OTV journalist was covering the agitation when the IIC pushed aside the boom and shoved him. We strongly condemn the incident. We demand the SP to take immediate action against the IIC,” said another farmer.

Reacting to the incident, Odisha Union of Journalists (OUJ) president Prasanna Mohanty said, "When an agitation was going on, it is the responsibility of journalist to cover the news. The chief of the channel will decide the manner of the broadcast. The police have no authority to say anything and make direction in this regard. The way the journalist was misbehaved with and the words used against him is objectionable.”

“I would condemn the incident with strongest words. As a member of the press council, I will report the incident. We never seen such treatment of journalists,” he added. 

(Reported by Sanjeev Nayak, OTV)