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Suryakant Jena

Bhubaneswar: Within a week of misbehaviour meted out to OTV journalist Niranjan Reddy by senior bureaucrat and sports secretary Vishal Dev, Reddy’s accreditation to cover the Men’s world cup hockey event has been cancelled.

The OTV journalist had applied for accreditation completing due formalities to the organizers of Hockey World Cup and the FIH had also approved permission. But without citing any proper clarification, the organisers have cancelled the accreditation of Reddy.

What is appalling is while several news channels which are way back in terms of the Target Rating Point (TRP)s, have been given the rights to cover the  event, Odisha’s number one news channel OTV’s representative has been barred.

It is to be noted that OTV’s TRP is itself higher than the ratings of all the regional channels combined and cancelling accreditation of a reporter of OTV is not only unacceptable but illegal.

“I have been serving as sports journalist since last two decades covering all kinds of national and international sport events. I had also applied for coverage accreditation of the hockey world cup and I was granted. But without showing any reason, my official accreditation has been cancelled just days after I was disrespected by the sports secretary,” OTV reporter Niranjan Reddy said.

Meanwhile, Union Minister Jual Oram criticised the Odisha government for promoting the event as a party event.

"Hockey World Cup is a national event but State government is projecting it as BJD's event. They (BJD) are focusing on just promoting their own party which is very disappointing," Oram said.

"I would like to warn them of future repercussions in the way they are discriminating between media houses by issuing accreditation to selected journalists," Oram added.

Former Indian Hockey Captain, Dilip Tirkey said "If Bhubaneswar is being considered as a top destination for sports and hockey, how can you term Hockey World Cup as a BJD event."

"The accreditation work is being looked after by Hockey India. The hockey federation doesn't belong to any government or party," Tirkey added.

Editor of 'Nirbhaya', Navin Das said "They (government) don't have the capacity for tolerance, be it CM Naveen Patnaik or Vishal Dev. The precedent being set by the government will have repercussions for journalists in future."

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