MUFP Demands Public Apology from Minister

The Media Unity for Freedom of Press ( MUFP )has, in a statement today, expressed deep shock and surprise over the incident involving a cabinet minister’s assault on media persons on duty on September 15, 2006 inside his secretariat chamber. The Minister Mr. Bijayshree Routray seems to have forgotten all ethics and manners while dealing with press persons. Media persons in Orissa have been in the target of wrong doers for quite some time. Not even a month has passed since media persons were attacked and seriously injured by hired goons inside KISS and KIIT campus and the police have yet to take necessary action against the assaulters, a minister has personally attacked a media person on duty.
The MUFP demands unconditional public apology from the erring minister and calls for serious introspection within the media fraternity to find out reasons for growing attacks on media persons who are just doing their job of digging out truth for public sharing. The MUFP also appeals the Chief Minister to take all such issues seriously and initiate appropriate action against the attackers so that freedom of expression in the state is duly protected.

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Is there any justice for the murdered journalist? Orissa should be ashamed of its pusillanimity

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

A month has elapsed. As ORISSA MATTERS had put it, the killers had found the Police Station area in Khalikote in the home district of the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik quite a safe place to commit the crime. Journalist Tarun Acharya was killed coldblooded by the terminators of human rights in the evening of May 27. But, Police that was sleeping then, is in slumber as yet.

It was a brutal assault on Press. Neither the Chief Minister in whose district this crime was perpetrated, nor the Opposition in the Assembly whom every moment to find fault with administration is a golden opportunity, have woke up to the occasion to shade even their meretricious tears on the loss of the precious life. Neither any politician worth his salt has condemned the murder nor has the Eastern Media Limited that was using his input to gain more audience stood even posthumously with the man, lest thereby his employment with the flagships of the organization may raise complicated labor issues.

In such a circumstances, eminent journalist and leader of Media Unity for Freedom of Press, Prasanta Patnaik has issued a statement appealing the conscience of everybody who loves democracy to react to this dastardly attack on the fourth pillar of democracy. We quote below his statement –

A month has passed since the brutal murder of our journalist friend TARUN ACHARYA of Khallikote in Ganjam district. Despite the demands of media persons through various journalist bodies and MEDIA UNIT FOR FREEDOM OF PRESS (MUFP) for arrest of all involved in this crime and to take exemplary steps by trying all the accused persons in the First Track Courts and giving adequate compensation to the next of kin of Tarun, s far the State Government has not taken any action.

Very strangely our popular Chief Minister Mr Naveen Patnaik and none from the Government have condemned the brutal murder nor have expressed sympathy to the bereaved family including his young widow, old parents and other family members.

It is a clear attack on the freedom of press in Orissa none of our political leaders including the leader of opposition have so far raised voice in the Assembly which is presently on session. None of the Civil Society bodies, intellectuals, women and youth organizations has also raised voice against such heinous attack on the Fourth Pillar of Democracy.

While only two persons allegedly involved in the crime have been arrested others have not been arrested and the police have not been able to reach at the root of the conspiracy and find out the persons really responsible for the crime.

Tarun, though was working for the SAMBAD and KANAK TV and his reports on the cashew mafia in these media is said to be the real cause behind his murder so far the management of this media house have not come forward to claim that Tarun was their reporter nor have taken any step strikingly condemning the brutal killing of a brave Journalist like Tarun Acharya.

I therefore appeal to all the media persons irrespective organizations they are working for and professional organizations to which they belong to join their hands and strongly fight against such threat to media persons in Orissa.

I also appeal to all professional bodies and MEDIA UNIT FOR FREEDOM OF PRESS (MUFP), all the editors, management of Media Houses to express their solidarity for this great cause of Orissa media and press their legitimate demands.

Friends who agree with my views may kindly send their suggestions at the earliest so that we can organize a meeting of all media friends working in print, electronic, web and visual media etc. to finalize our future course of action.

Chief Minister’s home district: Killer finds Police Station area safe for the crime

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The District belongs to the Chief Minister. The department of home (Police) belongs to the Chief Minister. Like all other Police Stations in the District, Khalikote PS is also equipped with carefully chosen Police Officers worthy of confidence of the Chief Minister.

Yet, the killer(s) slaughtered media person Tarun Acharya in the early night of Tuesday sans any fear for the Police even though the PS was in the proximity.


Acharya, only 34, was reportedly investigating into certain acts of felony, which could have become very problematic for the rogues.

Whether or not those rogues have murdered Acharya, the fact that a journalist could be killed so cold-bloodedly on the road nearing the PS, speaks volumes of how the environment there has become congenial to crime.

Various organizations of media persons including Media Unity for Freedom of Press have expressed solidarity with and demanded compensation to the bereaved family and punishment to the killer(s) without loss of time.

Samaja Reporter enlarged on Bail

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Reporter of the Samaja, Jitendra Prasad Das, framed up deliberately by the controllers of the paper, specifically the executive editor, in the communal tangle centering the major daily over publication of a forged photo of Prophet Mahammad, has been, a few minutes ago, granted bail by the SDJM, Cuttack.

Welcome Sri Das to the world of your own freedom.

J P Das with family

Thanks Utkalmani Newspaper Employees Association for the courageous, principled, relentless campaign you conceived and continued for release of your friend from the jail; thanks, members of the MUFP Presidium for your unconditional standing behind Das; thanks all netizens who have raised your voice against unjustified prosecution of Das, and thanks the judicial brilliance that ensured Das’s getting back his lost liberty and finally, thanks Mrs. Das for having courageously endured the turmoil with the small kid and the elderly mother-in-law. Thanks to you friends, all again.

Sathi Salam

MEMBERS OF ORISSA’S ACTIVE PRESS, THINK AFRESH

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

With a pack of owners of news media organizations, marked more for exploitation of their employees and misuse of journalism in pursuit of avarice, have constituted a state level Press Club wherein a few of the working journalists believing to be elites amongst Orissa scribes, a few of them eager to ingratiate themselves with their owners, have also joined. The outfit is named: “The Orissa Press Club”.

Code of Ethics of Journalism in vogue in this land is not addressed to the conduct of the owners of the media organization, who control journalism. So, under their active instigation, docile journalists have caused severe damages to journalism in Orissa by making many unethical compromises to net in ads.

For the professional journalists of Bhubaneswar, a Press Club contrived by the same persons for whom media in Orissa is drowned under hyper-commercialism oblivious of the ethic and role of journalism, was not a matter of no significance. They, therefore, instantly and spontaneously met in a meeting where it was decided to constitute a Press Club of Professional Journalists. On deep deliberations, it was decided to name it as Orissa Media Club. Membership thereof was open to professional journalists only, belonging to all streams of journalism from print to photo to internet. I was interested to have such a Press Club.

Why this Club was necessary?

Journalists in Orissa are betrayed by their trade unions. They are treated like the subjects were being, in erstwhile kingdoms even in the Samaja founded by great humanitarian leader Gopabandhu Das. Multi District Daily Anupam Bharat has arbitrarily closed its Bhubaneswar edition and all the journalists working in this edition have been thrown into the streets. Almost all of the working journalists are facing job crisis in Orissa. But trade unions of working journalists are conspicuous by their absence in taking up their cause.

There are two officially recognized trade unions of working journalists, namely Utkal Association of Journalists affiliated to Indian Federation of Working Journalists and Orissa Union of Journalists affiliated to National Union of Journalists, India.

Both these trade unions of working journalists are headed by persons who are not working journalists themselves.

Not a single industrial dispute is raised by any of them at least during a decade that may vouch for their trade union activities.

Working journalists in media organizations are not being paid their salaries as per Wage Board awards. Not a single case is raised by any of these trade unions against non-implementation of Wage Board Awards.

None of these trade unions have any branch in any media organization to monitor implementation of Wage Board awards therein.

When the Utkal Journalist Association has transformed its premises to a hotel hub where marriages and similar social feasts are frequently held for rents, the premises of Orissa Union of Journalists has been transformed into a commercial hub with many shops running their businesses by paying rent to its office bearers. Thus both the trade unions of working journalists have severely violated the terms and condition of allocation of Government land and are busy in none-journalistic activities while keeping their eyes closed to unfair labor practices in all the media organizations and non-payment of wages to working journalists as provided for by the Wage Boards.

Conditions of services of the working journalists stipulated under the Laws are not adhered to in any media organization. But, the trade unions whose leaders bask under the glory of their proximity to media owners and ministers and government top brasses, never bother about that.

When employment interest of working journalists thus goes unattended to by their trade unions, the ethical component of journalism is expected to be served by the Press Clubs. Therefore, building up a club for professional journalists was a necessity.

Yet another club

To my surprise, a friend who was a very active participant in the preparatory meeting of the Media Club, informed me yesterday that he and many others that had joined the preparatory meeting of the Media Club, have abandoned it because of shenanigans marked in tampering with its resolutions and deviation from the original idea of having a media club on all Orissa basis. They have revived a Press Club namely “Orissa State Press Club” that was registered in 1994 and lying dormant, he informed.

Thus, a situation has been created in Bhubaneswar where three Press Clubs have raised their heads.

In this situation, those, who have dedicated their lives to journalism, ought to be apprised of who of the organizers of these “Clubs” has how much contribution to ethics of journalism so that they can decide whether or not joining a club would be congenial to furtherance of the cause of the Press.

Needed is unity against
oligopolistic designs of media owners

The ‘Press’ in Orissa has been pushed into a pattern where the common man, on whose subscription the income of media organizations flourish, has no role in policy decisions of the media he/she subscribes to.

This scenario has to be changed. The change can come only if professional journalists unite against oligopolistic designs of the owners of the media organizations. Trade Unions have failed. A Press Club, unless addressed to this aim, would be another trapdoor for detraction from real purpose of the Press.

So, friends in Orissa’s active Press, think afresh.

MUFP strongly condemns gang rape of Mumbai photo-journalist; Demands exemplary action.

BHUBANESWAR, AUGUST 24, 2013: The Media Unity for Freedom of Press (MUFP) is deeply shocked and anguished over the horrific gangrape of a 22-year old fellow journalist in Mumbai while she was on an assignment with her male colleague on Thursday evening.

While joining the nationwide protests against the crime and the demand for the harshest possible to its perpetrators, MUFP wishes the young media colleague who is still in hospital an early recovery.

MUFP sees the the Mumbai gangrape not only as a barbarous and beastly attack on a woman’s dignity but also an intimidatory act that would aggravate the sense of insecurity among all working women who step out of their homes to earn a living.MUFP also demands for and the demand for the harshest possible pinishmnt to its perpetrators, MUFP wishes the young media colleague who is still in hospital an early recovery.

Today more and more young women are joining the profession of journalism which had remained a male domain for years. They are willing to accept tough assignments and go the extra mile to achieve excellence.

While conceding that the Mumbai gangrape incident may work as an disincentive to many of our young women colleagues, MUFP hopes they would stand up against such despicable acts both as individuals and journalists.

MUFP also appeals to the people at large to do their bit to help our daughters, sisters and mothers live and work in a safer environment and not hesitate to risk their own safety to ensure no harm is caused to them by abominable beasts that lurk around us.

MUFP strongly supports the silent protest rally being organised in Bhubaneswar by women journalists and photojournalists at 4.30 pm on Sunday and requests all members of the media fraternity to join it without fail.

Professional Journalists shall have their own PRESS CLUB

When media environment is vitiated with formation of a Club in the name of the Press by a team of owners of media industries known more for hyper-commercialism than adherence to Ethics of Journalism, professional journalists of Orissa have woken up to form a PRESS CLUB of their own.

A preparatory meeting was held for the purpose under presidentship of Sri Prasanna Kumar Mishra, Editor of the daily Sanchar on August 7 at Bhubaneswar.

Participants were clear in their opinion that “Press Club” should be a Club of professional press-persons, not a hodgepodge of users of press vanity.

Senior journalist Rabi Das, eminent columnist Prasanta Patnaik, web journalist Subhas Chandra Pattanayak, Subartta editor Pradyumna Satpathy, Resident Editor of The Telegraph Prakash Patra, Zee News bureau chief D.N.Singh, Subrata Das, Shubhashish Mohanty, K.Rabi of The Statesman, Dillip Bishoi of Financial Express, Pratap Mohanty of AFP, Debabrata Mohanty of Indian Express, Basudev Mohapatra of Nxatra TV, Secretary of National Union of Journalists Prasanna Mohanty, Debendranath Das and Ambikaprasad Kanungo of Sahana Mela, Umapada Bose and Ambika Das of Orissa Express, Akhand of India Media Centre, Sagar Satpathy of News Insite, Kedar Mishra of Anupam Bharat, Columnist SriRam Das, Subas Sarangi, Pradyumna Mohanty, Janatantra editor Vivekanand Dash, Krantidhara editor Gobinda Samal, Television journalist Durga Madhab Mishra, Ramachandi Prasad Ranasingh and Santos Tripathy of Suryaprava, Samajavadi editor Sanat Mishra, Ranjan Tripathy and Bibhuti Bhusan Rana of Orissa Times TV, Dyutikrishna Pahi and Sudhansu Patra of Live Orissa TV were active participants. Amongst others, who, because of being pre-occupied could not join, but had sent messages in support of the mission of the meet, were senior journalists Basant Das, Sampad Mohapatra, Sarada Prasanna Nanda, Jatin Das, Rajaram Satpathy, Debi Pattanayak, and Kishore Satpathy.

Eminent journalist Debendra Prusti, convener of the meeting, had initiated the discussion.

It was decided to draft a constitution for the new PRESS CLUB by a committee comprising Sri Prakash Patra (Former President of National Press Club of India), Sri D.N. Singh (Zee News) and Sri Subhas Chandra Pattanayak (orissamatters.com), under chairmanship of Sri Mishra. Sri Devendra Prusti shall remain the convener.