Action Against OTV By Odisha Govt: Editors Guild Of India Expresses Concern And Dismay
Bhubaneswar: The Editors Guild of India on Friday expressed dismay and concern over the action taken by Odisha government against the Odisha Television Limited (OTV) and its senior journalist Ramesh Rath.
Conveying displeasure over the vindictive manner in which the government and its agencies have acted against the media, the non-partisan association of editorial leaders in India said, “Such acts undermine the independent functioning of media organisations.”
In a letter, the EGI said, “… On the same day in the Keonjhar district of Odisha, the state police picked up a senior journalist, Ramesh Rath, employed with a regional news channel, OTV, on charges of having circulated an obscene video last year. OTV has stated that the journalist has been targeted for having done a series of reports exposing the Biju Janata Dal government in Odisha, although the state police has denied the allegations, saying that no arrest has yet been made.”
The Editors Guild of India has issued a statement pic.twitter.com/hSCJBUKpI5
— Editors Guild of India (@IndEditorsGuild) October 16, 2020
“The Guild believes that such actions threaten as well as undermine the independent functioning of the media organisations. These should be withdrawn forthwith,” the letter read.
Notably, Rath was picked by police on October 15 near his residence, a day after OTV telecast an expose on Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s claims of an aerial survey of the flood-hit areas of the State, which was based on RTI revelations.
Rath was entangled with an old viral video case of 2019 reported from Keonjhar and forcibly picked up from near his residence. His two mobile phones were also seized.
Despite full cooperation from OTV and Rath into the investigation of the case, the scribe was lifted and later released at 10 pm on the same day after writing an undertaking. Rath has been asked to appear before the Keonjhar police on October 21.