Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Though Covid-19 cases have dropped considerably in the State and all government departments are functioning in full strength, the Lok Seva Bhawan and the Assembly continue to remain out of bounds of the journalists.

Coming down heavily on the State government for restricting media access to these places, Opposition BJP and Congress on Thursday demanded the immediate lifting of the curb.

Raising the issue during the Zero Hour, senior Congress leader Narasingha Mishra said barring the entry of the journalists into Odisha Lok Seva Bhawan and Assembly is harmful for a democracy.

“Media plays a key role in the progress of the State. If the media is throttled, development will be hampered. Covid-19 has subsided to a great extent in Odisha and life has returned to normalcy. Journalists should be allowed entry into Lok Seva Bhawan and Assembly with immediate effect to cover the proceedings,” said Mishra.

Another senior Congress leader Tara Prasad Bahinipati also raised his voice for allowing entry of the journalists immediately.

“We have been demanding persistently to give unrestricted access to journalists. They are the fourth pillar of democracy. When all kinds of activities have resumed post the third wave of Covid-19, why shouldn’t be the media allowed to do its’ job?” asked Bahinipati.

Meanwhile, BJP Chief Whip Mohan Majhi hit out at the ruling party for barring the entry of State journalists into Lok Seva Bhawan and Assembly for so long.

“The issues concerning the people of the State are highlighted by the media. Be it the Lok Seva Bhavan or Assembly, entry of media personnel has been restricted to both these places for over two years now. The State Government should make it clear why the journalists are denied entry for so long,” asked Majhi.