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Monday, June 09, 2014  
MUFP demands judicial probe into assault on Journalists in SIT campus
"The recent incident of brutal attack on media persons by some staff members of Silicon Institute of Technology and a few outsiders allegedly called by the college authorities not only tell how an educational institute take on a wrong path to overpower media, but also how an educational institute can behave so inhumanly when its wrongs are getting exposed and its interest is slightly harmed."
Prasanta Patnaik
   

The incidents of attack on media in the last few months have warned the tribe of working journalists and media professionals to seek legislation by the government to ensure safety of journalists while on job.

From Laxman Choudhary of Gajapati to Jagannath Bastia in Puri, Amulya Pati in Jajpur and a group of journalists who went to cover the death of a student allegedly occurred due to food poisoning, the attack on media professionals of Orissa is on.

The recent incident of brutal attack on media persons by some staff members of Silicon Institute of Technology and a few outsiders allegedly called by the college authorities not only tell how an educational institute take on a wrong path to overpower media, but also how an educational institute can behave so inhumanly when its wrongs are getting exposed and its interest is slightly harmed.

The journalists who were attacked had gone to cover the news of death of a student allegedly due to food poisoning. There was also information with the journalists that 72 more students were ill for the same reason. ‘We found the main gate of the College closed when we went to cover the news. Then some students came and opened the main gate and we entered the campus. While covering the anguish of the students over the death of one inmate, we saw an ambulance going out through another gate. We rushed to cover that. Soon some people came forward, physically assaulted us, broke and snatched our ENG cameras. I saw two of our friends Rohan (Kanak TV) and Prasant (ETV News) coming out bleeding with severe injuries’, said a victim journalist Balaram Mohanty before the journalists who attended the meeting organized by Bhubaneswar based Media Unity for Freedom of Press (MUFP).

A team of police reached the campus and rescued the journalists and their ENG Cameras in broken condition. However, arrival of police after almost four-five hours of death of a student in the campus seems to be part of an attempt engineered by the SIT management to suppress the news of death of a student due to food poisoning.

Taking note of the incident and series of attack on media persons, MUFP took up the issue and sought immediate action by the Police and government to ensure justice to the victim journalists and safety of media persons to do their job without fear.

Realizing that the Freedom of Press is severely threatened in Orissa, journalists called by MUFP to the emergency meeting on 28 April 2010 passed a four point resolution for submission before the Chief Minister seeking a judicial probe into the incident that occurred in SIT Campus and a legislation by the government to ensure safety and security of journalists on job.

The resolutions also condemned murderous attack on an on-duty journalist Amulya Pati by a few anti-socials at Kalinganagar and the attempt made by Secretary, PG & PA department to squeeze the freedom of press by asking the Lokpal to initiate action against media organizations who published its recommendations on Vedanta University case. In the resolutions, MUFP sought strong action by the government against the anti-socials who attacked Amulya Pati and also against the Secretary PG & PA Department holding that he acted without authority in posting the notice against Press to the Lokpal.

Being a forum of all journalists working in the state, MUFP is committed to take up the issues related to the safety and security of journalists and work for their welfare.

(Author is a Senior Journalist and Media Activist from Orissa)

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