Cuttack/ Bhubaneswar: In a setback for International Hockey Federation (FIH), Hockey India and Odisha government, the Orissa High Court has directed them to grant permission to OTV sports journalist, Niranjan Reddy for media coverage of the Men's Hockey World Cup.
Informing about the development, OTV counsel Saurya Sundar Das said “The Court today directed the FIH and the Odisha government to allow OTV reporter Niranjan Reddy into Kalinga Stadium to cover the world cup like other journalists.”
Das further stated that the accreditation of Niranjan Reddy was earlier accepted on November 7. However, when Reddy went to collect his card, a day before the inauguration ceremony, he received an email from FIH that due to overwhelming response from international media for the world cup, his accreditation was cancelled.
Senior journalists in Odisha welcomed the Orissa High Court’s verdict today.
“It is a victory for the freedom of the press as Orissa High Court overruled the autocratic style of functioning of the Odisha government,” said senior journalist, Rabi Das.
Senior journalist Prasanna Mohanty said “The way the no.1 channel was deprived of media coverage of such a mega event was never seen in the history of the country. The Orissa High Court’s verdict will be a lesson for the Odisha government and those who are trying to throttle media. The Press Council of India should also take up the matter seriously.”
It is pertinent to mention here that on November 21, Odisha Sports Secretary Vishal Dev had lashed out at the OTV reporter during a press meet on the world cup. When Niranjan reached the officer’s chamber to collect information on the preparations for the upcoming Hockey World Cup at Kalinga Stadium, the department secretary, Vishal Dev was already giving reactions to reporters of three other media houses.
It was when the OTV reporter placed the microphone on his table to collect responses, the secretary lashed out and asked him to get out of his chamber.
Asking the reporter whether he had taken his permission to meet him, Dev pushed the OTV microphone away and said “You come with an agenda and are twisting one report in many ways. Don’t come here. Leave the room and don’t waste my time."
Notably, the bureaucrat's reaction came a day after OTV reported about the technical glitches which marred the online sale of tickets for the opening ceremonies of the world cup which were scheduled for November 27 and November 28.
Such behaviour of the bureaucrat had drawn sharp reactions from different quarters while major political parties also staged demonstration seeking removal of Vishal Dev.
Several human rights activists had also demanded an unconditional apology from the Sports Secretary over his remarks and misbehaviour towards the OTV reporter.