Freedom of Press should not be used to abuse, says Justice Anang Kumar Patnaik of the Supreme Court

By A.K.Mohapatra with pictorial input from Dhirendra Kumar Das
Freedom of Press should not be used to abuse any individual or institute in manners conducive to public mischief, advised Justice Anang Kumar Patnaik of the Supreme Court of India, while felicitating distinguished senior journalists at Bhubaneswar on 16 November 2012 at the behest of National Journalists Welfare Board, on the occasion of National Press Day.

The Right to freedom of speech and expression enshrined in Art.19 (1) (a) of the Constitution is conditioned with reasonable restrictions and hence, the axiom of freedom of press generated by the Supreme Court of India out of the said Article should not be taken as absolute freedom, he said. Making a mention of Lord Leveson Commission constituted by UK to look into culture, practices and ethics of the media, which has given birth to broiling debates there, Justice Patnaik cautioned the journalists that if press in India is to stay free from any official formulation, they should adhere to the environment of self-regulation.

Recapitulating how he was inspired by certain scribes of Orissa in his formative days, Justice Patnaik lauded the press persons for their contributions to India’s pre and post independence role in shaping up a better world to live in. Therefore to him it was a great pleasure to have an opportunity to felicitate some of the leading lights of journalism, he said.

The event was supported by Central Government’s Press Information Bureau, Field Publicity Directorate, All India Radio – Cuttack, Door Darshan Kendra – Bhubaneswar and Amit College of Journalism.

Eminent author and Editor of Samaya, Satakadi Hota was felicitated with ‘Sambadik Ratna’ award even as ten distinguished senior journalists of Orissa were felicitated with accompanying pension organized by NJWB, which is considered first of its kind in India. Four Journalists from outside Orissa – Santos Pande, Deepak Kumar Rath, Punit Nanda, and A. Santosh – were also felicitated with Sambadika Gaurav decorations.

Rajyasabha member Baishnav Parida announced allocation of funds for a well equipped Ambulance to be used for journalists under medical exigencies, which the concerned officials would draw from his MPLAD accounts.

Minister S. N. Patra, Minister Arun Sahu, Mayor Anant Narayan Jena, local MLA Bijay Kumar Mohanty, besides Sri Parida addressed the event that was preceded by a symposium on Freedom of Press in the forenoon.

Ms. Shanti Snigdha Mohapatra was felicitated with Rabi Mohanty Memorial Shield for having achieved the first position in Journalism under the Utkal University.

The event was presided over by journalist Pradosh Pattanaik.

NJWB General Secretary Sanat Mishra coordinated the function and Vice-President Pradyumna Mohanty proposed the vote of thanks.

On behalf of the state department of Culture and Door Darshan Kendra Bhubaneswar, eminent music director Basudev Rath and Bikash Das conducted a grand program of entertainment in honor of the Press Day.

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