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Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: In what is being seen as a gag on media, the ruling BJD has decided to boycott the panel discussions and political debates on Odisha's largest television news channel OTV.

BJD spokesperson and Rajya Sabha member Pratap Deb in a press meet in Bhubaneswar today announced his party's decision.

Alleging OTV of being biased, Deb said that the news channel is targeting the ruling party and the State government especially after the suspension of Kendrapara MP Baijayant Panda from BJD.

He further said OTV is giving undue importance to inappropriate issues and attempting to confuse the people of Odisha by repeated broadcast of the news.

He further said that specific issues are being given undue coverage by OTV since last two months. Even during the panel discussions and debates, BJD representatives are not provided enough time to answer the questions put to them and sidelined during deliberations.

However OTV has termed such allegations as false and baseless.

"OTV has been impartial and neutral in its news telecast. We analyse every aspect of a news and give importance to everyone involved. In all the debates and discussion-based programmes, both the accused and the counter-party are given ample opportunity to present their views. In this pursuit, there are no vested interests of any person, institution, government or the opposition but a promise to provide impartial news to our viewers. In view of this, the allegations of BJD are completely false, baseless and appear as an attempt to suppress the voice of media. It is quite common that questions will be raised on policies and stance of the government and the party in power. As BJD is the ruling party in Odisha, keeping in mind the interests of the people of the State, OTV questions the government as required and telecasts the criticisms of the Opposition while also presenting the views of the government. Hence, BJD should refrain from making futile attempts of defaming OTV and come on our neutral platform and present its views so that truth can reach the viewers," OTV clarified.

Similarly, MP Baijayant Panda in his clarification said "I have no role in OTV's editorial decisions. It is Odisha’s largest news organisation and is respected for its professional and neutral platform. OTV does not suppress anyone’s voice. Mr Pandian should have responded to OTV’s attempts to get his clarification on allegations against him. Even now, instead of making false allegations of bias, BJD and Mr Pandian should convey their views to the public through OTV’s neutral platform."

Condemning such a move of the ruling BJD, Union minister and senior BJP leader Jual Oram tweeted "It is unfortunate that ruling BJD has decided to boycott OTV."

Senior journalist, Prasanna Mohanty said "I don't think that such a decision has ever been taken in the history of India. This is a very unfortunate decision. The Party in power should be tolerant and the manner in which they face the opposition in the Assembly, they should do the same in case of media."

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