Alert Journalists of Orissa are now one against every attempt to gag the Freedom of Press. Very soon this forenoon they will collectively take up the issue and resole to observe this day as the “Day of media unity for Freedom of Press”.

Notes journalist Pasanta Patnaik’s thinking on this occasion reduced to writing is placed here below:

Though media in Orissa wants to maintain cordial relationship with the Government and all sections of people while safeguarding the interests of the State, country and the common men, threats on media and freedom of press is increasing day by day from various sources like the unscrupulous policemen, anti-people and corrupt administrators, a section of vested interest politicians, corporate houses, mines mafias, real estate mafias, liquor mafias, anti-socials etc. Not only some unscrupulous elements in the Government machinery but also all sections of vested interests want to take the media for granted and when the media do not succumb they try to gag the media or attack the media persons who expose their anti-people activities.

In the past in Orissa, many media persons have become victims of such attack. Gang rape and murder of Chhabirani is still fresh in the memory of the people. A non-compromising and genius journalist Swarup Jena was beaten up by the police and virtually died of the injuries just 25 years back in 1984. Many other journalists have also been victimized in different levels. Jatadhari Rana of Nayagarh was arrested and imprisoned for exposing misdeeds of some local politicians. Even there was attempt on the of eminent journalist and Editor of Samaj late Dr. Radhanath Rath by hurling bombs on his vehicle.

In 2007 Bijoy Dewivedi of Bhabanipatna was arrested by police on complaints of the administration and was booked under Section 214 B for reporting about deaths in Cholera epidemic at Thuamul Rampur. Perhaps this was for the first time in the recent past when such charges were brought against a journalist in Orissa. Sedition charges were also brought against OTV reporters Khusiram Sunani, Kirti Chandra Sahu and others on various occasions for exposing the failure of the administration. Lenin Kumar Ray, Editor of “Nissan” was also arrested on various serious criminal charges. Many other media persons were also victimized in different places. Latest instances were arrest of Laxman Chaudhry in Mohana on false and fabricated charges for exposing nexus between the ganja smugglers –women traffickers and the police. Even the police virtually declared him an enemy of the State by booking him under various sections like waging war against the State, sedition etc, lethal attack on Jagannath Bastia of Samaj at Puri by anti-socials for exposing land grabbing by politicians and land mafias; assault on journalists Sriharsha Mishra and Kiran Mishra of “Aaromv”at the instance of Collector Jharsuguda in his office premises.

Since threat on media from various sources are increasing day by day it is high time that all the media persons in the State to be united so that no one ever can dare to attack us in any manner.

When we are speaking of media persons, we include everybody in the print, electronic and web media who is contributing for the production in any manner. We don’t want to exclude anybody from the media family. This unity will give us self-confidence and sense of security to execute our duties in respective spheres without fear or favor.

Since we are now united from today, this historical day all of us should feel that we are one and also enjoy the support of all who believe in freedom of media and healthy democratic setup.

I shall appeal all media persons that from this moment none of the media persons should feel that he/she is alone and helpless. The entire media fraternity is solidly with him and is armed enough to face any onslaught from any quarters. And if any one would look at any of us with a bad eye he will find that thousands of media persons are together to face him/them however powerful he/they might be.

On this occasion I would suggest all to take a decision to celebrate December 14 of every year as the DAY OF MEDIA UNITY FOR FREEDOM OF PRESS all over the State to prove to the world that media in Orissa is one.

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