You can’t enter, we have orders from ‘top’: Police to OTV journos at Naveen Niwas

Bhubaneswar: In yet another attempt to muzzle OTV’s voice, a lady journalist of the news channel Archana Satapathy was misbehaved with and turned away by security personnel at Naveen Niwas while she was on her way to cover news after having received information from ruling-BJD sources.

As per reports, Archana along with cameraperson Santosh Tarai was turned away from the gate by security personnel citing orders from ‘top’ not to allow OTV inside the CM’s residence.

The incident happened during a Mishran Parba organised at Naveen Niwas today where senior leader Pranay Sahu, who resigned from the Congress yesterday, had congregated with his supporters to join BJD in presence of the party president Naveen Patnaik and other senior leaders.

Reportedly, journos of OTV and other media houses had gone there to cover the event after getting invitation through a WhatsApp message group of the BJD. However, it was quite shocking that while others were allowed, only OTV correspondents were stopped at the gates citing orders from the ‘top’.

When Archana tried to find out who actually has given such orders, no one had any answer. Even the spokespersons of ruling-BJD – Prashanta Nanda and Sasmit Patra, dodged her queries citing that they will check and respond.

“I don’t have idea about this. There must be some misunderstanding. I will check and respond. I cannot say everything right now,” said Nanda.

Criticising such policies of the BJD-led government, senior journalists stated that this is nothing but an effort to throttle the No.1 media house of Odisha.

“This kind of behaviour is insane and unacceptable. Naveen Niwas is the residence of Chief Minister. When the journalists are getting invitation for functions or to cover any news, and still if they are stopped from covering, I would say it is unfortunate. Why are they inviting then?” questioned political commentator and journalist Rabi Dash.

Dash also stated, “How can the police take such decisions? Do they have rights to decide who will be allowed and barred from entering? Are OTV journos terrorists?”

The senior journalist further stated, “This incident is a direct attack on media. Media works for people and not any party or government. The behaviour of police is also unacceptable. My question is whether they were stopped because CM Naveen had directed them or police followed someone else’s diktat?”

Similarly, senior journalist Nabin Das also condemned the misbehavior meted out to lady journalist of the OTV.

Meanwhile, News Broadcasters Association (NBA) chairman Rajat Sharma also wrote to CM Naveen Patnaik after letter from OTV on problems it is facing in imparting its duties as a media house. In the letter, Sharma said, “You (Patnaik) will appreciate that media is providing a service that is essential for any democracy to function and in turn to keep the public informed and hence its rights must be protected. Any move to deny information to media undermines basic tenets of freedom of speech.

Two months back in November, senior bureaucrat and sports secretary Vishal Dev drew sharp criticism for the behaviour he meted out to OTV journalist Niranjan Reddy during a press meet in his chamber ahead of the Hockey Men’s World Cup 2018.

The ruling BJD has also boycotted participating in OTV debates and discussions for last many months.