Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: The ruling BJD on Monday knocked on the doors of Chief Electoral Officer accusing OTV of telecasting 'paid news' to favour BJP candidate in the ensuing Bijepur by-poll. However OTV has termed such allegations as false and baseless.

As per OTV's clarification:

OTV’s credibility as the number one regional channel in Odisha for the last two decades has stemmed from its relentless presentation of news in the most fair and unbiased way.

Following its charter to cover all sides of every news, OTV, since the declaration of date of Bijepur by-election till filing of nomination papers and the campaigning by all parties till date, has stuck to being impartial in all its news presentations. This is why it has built a reputation of credibility over 21 years as the most watched Odia news channel.

Irrespective of any bias towards any party, OTV offers the minutest on-ground details by reaching people at large from the grassroots to the leaders.

So be it news schedules, panel discussions or news scrolls, OTV has never been partisan, rather, the merit of news forms its only yardstick of telecasting.Lately, people connected with BJD have reduced giving reactions or participating in debates conducted by OTV. They cannot then use this pretext to allege bias.

OTV doesn’t believe in the concept of ‘paid news’. Amid the fight of political parties to prove one-upmanship, dragging OTV is condemnable. These allegations are just a means to defame the channel and an attempt in futility.

OTV is committed to free, fair and unbiased reporting and will continue to show all sides of every news. We request BJD as well as all other political parties to communicate their views on the channel.

Earlier, addressing a presser, BJD Vice-President Surya Narayan Patro alleged that the particular channel is showing news reports favouring the saffron party's candidate.

"It is unfortunate that OTV in the name of news collection in the election time has undertaken various anti-BJD programmes, through its news, panel discussions and other items which are only shown by a paid channel," said Patro.

Citing an Election Commission directive of collecting expenses from those channels telecasting such kind of news, Patro stated that EC officers in Odisha should take measures for controlling such incidents and treat these as advertisements.

"We have urged Electoral Officer to calculate the total expenses of the news reports of OTV aired in an attempt to ensure BJP's candidate win against our (BJD) candidate. Such expenses should be treated as advertisement expenses and collected from BJP's candidate," said Patro.

The move by BJD has sparked off a debate with several political parties condemning statements by BJD leaders.

BJP's candidate for Bijepur bypoll, Ashok Panigrahi stated that all such allegations brought against OTV are completely false and baseless.

"They (BJD) do not know the definition of paid news and such acts are intentional," said Panigrahi.

Even BJD MP Prasanna Patasani on the other hand stated everybody should condemn such act and media enjoys its own freedom.

Congress Chief Whip Taraprasad Bahinipati on the other hand targeted Chief Minister's Office (CMO) for bringing such allegations against OTV.

"Media is the fourth pillar of democracy and enjoys freedom, Both BJD leaders SN Patro and Pratap Deb do not have freedom to make such allegations on their own rather they must have been directed by CMO," said Bahinipati.