Devbrat Patnaik

Bhubaneswar: After working in Odisha for as long as 22 years as a woman entrepreneur, Jagi Mangat Panda, also the Managing Director and Co-founder of Odisha Television Ltd, expressed her anguish today after appearing before the House Committee of Odisha Assembly. Jagi appeared before the Privilege Committee after being summoned in connection with a breach of privilege motion moved against OTV last November.

"I have been working in Odisha for the past 22 years and created more than 2000 jobs in Odisha. And for the first time today, as a woman entrepreneur, I feel extremely harassed," Jagi said while speaking to media.

"Why I am saying this is we have never faced such situation in these 22 years. Even today, OTV is the most viewed news channel in Odisha and all of you know that. And yet OTV is being harassed, lots of hurdles being created and we are attacked from various fronts," Panda asserted.

On the agenda of the news channel, Jagi Panda said, I cannot reveal what happened in the meeting. But I want to say that OTV management doesn't interfere in news and we are very proud of our journalists that they do a professional job and follow a written charter given by us. Here, very professionally news is covered."

It is pertinent to mention here that Opposition party chief whip, Tara Prasad Bahinipati had brought a ‘Breach of Privilege Motion’ against OTV after the channel telecast a factual report on November 19, 2018 on how Odisha Assembly Speaker Pradeep Amat adjourned the House after being prompted by the House secretary.

Reportedly, the Privilege Committee of Odisha Assembly summoned Jagi Mangat Panda a week ago asking her to appear before it.

Odisha minister Pratap Jena who led the committee said that the next date of hearing will be finalised soon. "The investigation is not over yet and further discussions will be held in coming days."

Meanwhile, Tara Prasad Bahinipati, criticising the summon to the OTV MD, questioned, "Why was OTV MD Jagi Panda asked to appear before the Privilege Committee despite the fact that I had written to the Odisha Assembly secretary seeking withdrawal of the breach of privilege motion. It is extremely unfortunate."

I will present my clarification in the Odisha Assembly on February 4 and the truth will come out that day, Bahinipati added.

Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan also criticised the incident and said, "The mothers, daughters and daughters-in-law are being humiliated like this in Odisha. Naveen is intolerant and trying to throttle democracy through threats and abuse."

Generally reporters and editors are summoned and it is for the first time that a promoter of a media house has been summoned, Pradhan added.