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Monday, June 09, 2014

 
MUFP ridicules Bhusan Steel’s act of vengeance against media persons

"Ridiculing the act of vengeance against the media persons by Bhushan Steel Ltd and terming it as an attempt by a private investor to muzzle and terrorise media persons, Odisha's Media Unity for Freedom of Press (MUFP) has demanded that the Company must immediately withdraw the names of the two media persons from its FIR. MUFP has also warned to go for agitation if the Company fails to fulfil the demand."

HNF Desk

 

Attacks on media persons at work have been more frequent in Odisha during last few years. However, the recent and deliberate attempt by Bhushan Steel Company to book two journalists under false and fabricated charges, as claimed by Odisha’s Media Unity for Freedom of Press (MUFP) in a release, further exposes how the industrial houses, in close connivance with the administration and political leadership, have come forward to curb the media and stop it from bringing the truth to public.

As per the MUFP release, Sri Pradeep Senapati of ETV Channel and Sri Jayant Nath of the Sambad, both Dhenkanal based journalists, had been to the Bhushan Steel Plant on 3 February 2012 to report news of the demonstration staged by plant workers. While the journalists did their job as part of their duty, the company management named both the journalists as co-accused in an FIR it lodged at the local police station stating that they instigated the workers to protest against the company.

The local police has registered a case against the journalists and is eager to pursue the fabricated FIR because it is hand in gloves with the company and is also troubled by the pro-people reports filed by the two reporters in the past. It is worth mentioning here that many reports came in media earlier about Bhushan’s unethical practices and poor safety standards in the plant.

Ridiculing such act of vengeance against the media persons by Bhushan Steel Ltd and terming it as an attempt by a private investor to muzzle and terrorise media persons, MUFP has demanded that the Company must immediately withdraw the names of the two media persons from its FIR. MUFP has also warned to go for agitation if the Company fails to fulfil its demand.

In order to chalk out its further course of action, MUFP is going to hold a protest meeting on February 14, 2012 at 11 AM in Bhubaneswar.

However, the recent one by Bhushan Steel Company is not the only case of corporate attack on media. Journalists were also attacked in Jajpur’s Kalinga Nagar by the officials and supporters of TATA Steel in the year 2010. One of the journalists Amulya Pati was hospitalised and remained bedridden for months. In fact, even though there is no official restriction, journalists do not have a free access to the Villages in Kalinga Nagar Industrial area to meet the people and report their issues. Same is the case with the villages in and around Niyamgiri in Lanjigarh where media persons are reportedly harassed by company people and the Police.

In Odisha, Journalists are becoming increasingly vulnerable to the aggression of notorious people, institutions and organisations. The irony is, himself being a writer and litterateur, Odisha’s Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is just playing the hoodwink game with the issues of the journalists of the state even after repeated appeals and demands. One who believes in David Ben Gurion’s famous quote - “the test of democracy is freedom of criticism” – would surely see democracy in a state of jeopardy in Odisha.

       

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