Muzzling media: Protests mount in Odisha over privilege motion against OTV

Bhubaneswar: Resentment is brewing across Odisha among journalists as well as political leaders who have condemned the privilege motion moved by the Opposition party chief whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati against OTV for a telecasting a factual report on the proceedings inside the Odisha Assembly.

Terming it as an attempt to muzzle the voice of media; several senior journalists and leaders opined that it is the duty of the media to put forth everything before the people.

BJP leaders asserted that Congress leader Tara Prasad Bahinipati himself has tarnished the image of Odisha Assembly several times in the past and such kind of stance against media is certainly a ‘warning signal’ for media houses in the State.

Senior journalist, Nabin Das took a dig at Bahinipati by drubbing him as an ‘agent’ of the ruling party.

“At a time when people were expecting Congress to regain its position so as to play the role of a strong opposition, the move of Bahinipati who happens to the Opposition chief whip has thrown a spanner,” said Das.
Senior journalist, Basudev Mohapatra too expressed similar views.

“Media’s job is to show everything which influential or powerful people doesn’t want to come before the people. I don’t think the breach of privilege motion has any base or relevance,” said Mohapatra.

BJP leader Jayram Pangi stated that “Is the image of Odisha Assembly not being tarnished by acts of climbing on to the podium of the Speaker, pulling microphones and creating nuisance on the floor of the House? It is not an action against OTV but a warning signal for other media houses in the State also.”

It is pertinent to mention here that Tara Prasad Bahinipati had moved a Breach of Privilege motion against OTV after the channel telecast a factual report November 19 on how the Speaker adjourned the House after being prompted by the secretary.

Following the motion, the Assembly Speaker Pradip Kumar Amat directed the House secretary to issue notice to the channel on why ‘the permission granted to the company for its entry to the premises of the OLA and direct telecast of the proceedings of the House shall not be withdrawn.’

“I do not have anything to say on it. Only after discussions, it will be ascertained whether it was my personal or party’s stand,” clarified Bahinipati.