Media Unity for Freedom of Press in unequivocal and strongest terms condemns two separate incidents of violent attacks on media persons at Banki in Cuttack district and Paradeep in Jagatsinghpur district yesterday, Monday, 28 February 2011.

In Banki the MBC TV reporter Kiran Kanungo and cameraperson Prasant Jena were roughed up by a group of BJD workers while they were covering the renovation ceremony of an existing cold storage godown attended by a senior minister and the local BJD MLA. They were beaten up and their camera was snatched away by a group of violent BJD workers while theyy were covering the clash that took place between local BJD workers and some people who were holding a black flag demonstration at the venue.

All this happened in the presence of the senior minister and other BJD functionaries including the local MLA but none of them protested against the brutal attack on media persons by their own people.This is the second instance of the ruling BJD workers and functionaries resorting to violent physical attacks against media persons in the last four weeks

On the same day, 28 February, OTV reporter NM Baisakh and his cameraman Anup Ray were beaten up by anti-social elements in Paradeep when they were covering a protest dharna outside the IOCL main gate by local people demanding jobs and compensation. The anti-socials who had come with lethal weapons to attack the protesters targeted the OTV team to prevent them from covering their criminal action. They also snatched away the camera from them to destroy visual evidence of their criminal action.

The MUFP demands the arrest of all involved in the attacks on media persons in Banki and Paradeep, recovery and return of the stolen cameras to the respective media houses in the next 24 hours. MUFP also demands stringent and exemplary punishment to the guilty individuals, especially those belonging to the ruling Biju Janata Dal at the earliest.

The MUFP also resolved to appeal to the Advisory Panel comprising Editors, Channel Heads, Bureau Chiefs to consider and approve the proposal to boycott all functions of ministers , BJD functionaries and the police if the demands of the MUFP is not met with immediately.

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