Leave, go, I have not permitted you, don’t waste my time: Vishal Dev to OTV reporter at press meet

Bhubaneswar: In what can be termed as a blatant disrespect to the fourth pillar of democracy – the media, the Odisha Sports Secretary, a senior bureaucrat Vishal Dev today asked a reporter of OTV to get out of a press meet he had called.

At around 12.48 pm today noon, OTV reporter Niranjan Reddy reached the officer’s chamber to collect information on the preparations for the upcoming Hockey World Cup at Kalinga Stadium when the secretary, Vishal Dev was already giving reactions to reporters of three other media houses.

It was when the OTV reporter placed the boom on his table to collect his bytes, 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 boom 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.”

When asked about the reason for such behaviour, Dev said, “’I haven’t called you, this is neither a park nor a public place. Haven’t you seen what happened yesterday,” said Dev.

At the time the incident happened, reporters and camera crew of various other media houses were also present.

Here’s the video of the incident:

It is to be noted that yesterday, OTV had telecast a report on the hassles of online ticket booking for the world cup hockey inaugural ceremony. Despite the craze created around the Men’s Hockey World Cup 2018, several fans were left disappointed after they failed to buy tickets for the inaugural ceremony to be held at Kalinga Stadium on November 27 and celebrations event at Barabati Stadium in Cuttack on November 28. Most people alleged severe technical glitches they faced while trying to book tickets online.

However, the incident has now sparked sharp criticism from senior journalists. “No officials have the right to dictate the mediapersons as they are free to choose the way they wants to broadcast the news. OTV is a branded and responsible news channel in the state and the way a senior bureaucrat of the government behaved with a reporter of the channel, should be strongly condemned.” Senior journalist Prasanna Mohanty said.

Mohanty further stated that the recent glitches in the build up to the Hockey World Cup was nothing but fiasco. People have come forward to show their displeasure over the authorities’ mismanagement in ticket distribution and so if a news channel shows about it, then there is no problem,” he said.

“Looking at the developments over last few months, a palpable competition between various political parties to control media houses is underway which is creating a bad precedent and will severely hit the credibility of media in coming days, Mohanty said.

Senior journalist Debendra Prusty said, “Criticise him to any extent, I think it would still be less for him. If media opens the chapters of Vishal Dev, many things will come to fore. The time has come for all media houses, not only in Odisha but across the nation, to unite and protest such undemocratic incidents and give a befitting reply.”

Ministers seem to be powerless and secretaries have become ministers now. How could Vishal Dev target only one media house and ask the correspondent to leave his room? This is not the behaviour,” said senior journalist Pradyumna Satapathy.

“OTV presented the facts of online ticket sale for the hockey World Cup. If the channel telecast a report on the hassles of online ticket booking, where was the fault?” questioned Birendra Hota, Sports Organiser in Puri.

Responding to the development the channel clarified, “OTV presented the facts regarding online ticket sale of Men’s Hockey World Cup and how the fans were disappointed after being unable to get tickets; several allegations were made by fans & people of the State who experienced unforeseen difficulties due to the mismanagement. As OTV was the only channel to air the voices of discontent of fans and the general public, it became the target of the Sports department secretary.”