Bhubaneswar, Feb 12 (IANS) Editors of various newspapers and television channels here Saturday expressed deep concern over the rising incidents of attacks on journalists in Orissa.
Participating in an editors’ symposium on media freedom, organised by the Media Unity for Freedom of Press (MUFP) here, they came down heavily on the state government for being indifferent to such incidents.
The editors expressed surprise over the police not taking any action against an elected member of the ruling Biju Janata Dal despite his leading a brutal attack on a journalist a week ago in Puri district.
Rajat Ranjan Dash, a reporter of Oriya newspaper Sambad, was attacked and severely beaten up by the chairperson of an urban civic body and his supporters at Pipili, about 20 km from Bhubaneswar Feb 4. Dash, who sustained multiple injuries on his head, hands and chest, became a target after he reported on large scale corruption in the area.
“Police have failed to arrest the culprits,” Prasant Patnaik, one of the participants said.
“We have met Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik number of times in the past, seeking his intervention in several such attacks, but it yielded no result,” another participant said.
The participants said that by not arresting the culprits, the government had strengthened the perception that the state was against media freedom.
An eleven-member media advisory panel was also formed to meet at regular intervals to deliberate on major issues confronting mediapersons in Orissa.
Prominent members include Satakadi Hota, Soumya Ranjan Patnaik, Tathagat Satpathy, Samahit Bal, Srimoy Kar and Soumyajit Patnaik. Senior scribe Prasanta Patnaik would act as the co-ordinator.
The media advisory panel will meet Feb 19 to deliberate on a possible plan for joint media action and endorse a white paper on all incidents of attacks on mediapersons in the last two years.