Illegal occupiers of the Samaja have made it a play ground of Journalistic Misconduct

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Orissa’s premier newspaper ‘The Samaja’ is occupied and is being looted by Lok Sevak Mandal (Servants of the People Society, New Delhi) by using a Will purported to be of its founder-editor Gopabandhu Das, which is evidently forged by two former ministers of the State – Lingaraj Mishra and Radhanath Rath (The Samaja in Maze of Forgery, Subhas Chandra Pattanayak, published by Save the Samaja Forum, Marketed by A.K.Mishra Agencies Pvt. Ltd and also obtainable through Pabitra Mohan Maharatha at p,maharatha@gmail.com).

Under the Lok Sevak Mandal, the paper has become a playground of forgers and offenders.

It has now become a house of journalistic misconduct inasmuch as its published authors of print editions are being misappropriated in its internet editions without them knowing of this mischief.

One such instance is poet Gajanan Mishra whose fast onto death for implementation of Orissa Official Language Act, 1954 has woke up the state to demand for governance in Oriya language.

I was thrilled to see his article on language movement in the editorial page of the Samaja on August 10. This was the published article in print version:

Gajanasn babu in Samaja_
I wanted to share the same with the global community and therefore I went to its internet edition at http://www.thesamaja.com.

I found it in editorial bracket. The picture below would show.

Editorial bracket
But when I went to the article, I found it published as editorial of the internet edition where there was no trace of its real author Gajanan Mishra. Peruse the picture –

editorial

It is a clear instance of misappropriation of Gajanan Mishra’s article for its own editorial, hiding the real author from the internet browsers in general and global / non-resident Oriyas in particular, who are keenly watching the Oriya Language Movement.

If anything, this is journalistic misconduct.

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SARATHI SCANDAL // Ten Questions the Television Channels are Afraid of Answering

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Orissa was subjected to massive blackout of all information in the television channels for minimum five days as they were schizophrenically engaged in sharpening mass mania against suspected sexual offense of a fellow called Sarathi Baba, considered by gullible people as an incarnation of God.

On August 9, well known young intellectual and thinker, socio-cultural activist Sahasranshu Mohapatra addressed an OPEN LETTER to the Television Channels and their pampered panelists designating them as “Demigods” of Orissa who are well equipped to raise any noise they like at any time on any issue of their preference. As a citizen with the right not to be overwhelmed with anarchic use of media power, he has asked ten questions to the “Demigods” in his “open letter”.

The Television Channels and the persons he has named in his open letter posted in social media are yet to answer him.

I consider it a correct step of a bright young man whom everybody who knows him takes as a conscience keeper of the society.

Let the channels and the panelists named by him come forward with appropriate answers, if they have any, to the questions raised

His ‘Open Letter’ is reproduced below:

Dear Demigods of Orissa,

The flag bearers of morality in private (yes private because you set moral standards for personal lives of individuals as well) and public life, after the relentless coverage of the ‪#‎Sarathisaga‬ since last five days I am writing this OPEN LETTER to you all out of fear, concern and frustration as a concerned Oriya.

My fear is you might tomorrow get hold of a photograph or a video clip of me hanging around with a woman (May be someone enjoying high status in public life) and then set high moral standards, a moral code of conduct for me and when I fail to meet that (which obviously I will fail) you will hound and destroy my life as you have done in the case of the girl concerned (sorry the mysterious girl, as per your words) in ‪#‎Sarathisaga‬.

I hope Mr Satya Nayak of Zee Kalinga, Mr Manoranjan Mishra of Kanak TV, Mr Ardhendu Das of Prameya News7, Chief Editor of MBC TV, Mr Navin Das of Nirbhay and Chief Editor of Pragativadi – you all would answer the following questions. I have few questions for the Orissa Union of Journalists (OUJ) also, so mentioning Mr Prasanna Mohanty.

I have mentioned all these names because I follow you all closely for my daily peg of news.

I follow OTV but not mentioning it for obvious reasons.

I don’t watch Prameya News7 but can’t avoid as all the questions begin with the Prameya’s relentless “90 hours coverage that has made a newly launched channel No 1” (by their own admission).

Here are the questions:

1. What was the issue here in ‪#‎Sarathisaga‬- moral turpitude, illegality and some kind of criminal act or sexcapade involving Sarathi Baba?

2. If it’s about morality yes you can question the lifestyle and living of a religious preacher who calls himself an incarnation of the god. But who gave you the right to question the morality of the girl and set moral standards for her? Does an adult girl need your consent where should she travel, who should she be staying with in a hotel?

3. If it’s about travelling to Hyderabad and staying in a Hotel with an adult girl under which law of this country it’s a criminal act? At the same time if there was criminality by hounding the girl and making her identity public have you not assassinated her character and cast aspersions on her conduct? Are you not further victimizing a victim of the crime (as you call it not the law)?

4. If it’s about sexcapade, has the girl concerned lodged an FIR or a police complaint regarding this? In the absence of a formal police complaint how does this case qualify for such relentless coverage?

5. Hope you all know under section 228A of IPC making public the identity of a rape victim is a punishable offence. Also the SC guidelines on sexual harassment victims don’t allow revealing the identity of the victim. Have you all not committed a crime by making the concerned girl’s identity public and showing her photographs, hounding her family for bytes?

6. Be it ‘Mahaprabhab’, ‘Explosive Exclusives’ or ‘Relentless coverage for 90 hours’ now Sarathi Baba has been sent to police remand. He has been charged for cheating, forgery, promoting superstition, criminal intimidation and criminal conspiracy among other charges. What is new in it? Tell me one charge that we all were not aware of earlier or nobody had alleged about such criminal act in the past? Why you all were silent then and now firing from the shoulder of a Dalit girl?

7. Is the objectivity of the newly launched news channel Prameya News 7 full proof? When you are setting high moral standards for all, should not the channel’s morality or that of the organization running the channel be put to public scrutiny?

8. The Orissa Union of Journalists strongly reacted to the police atrocity in Kendrapada because media persons were also not spared. But does not the OUJ agree with the fact that the media houses with their brazenness and shameless coverage of a non-issue created a vitiating circumstance that gave opportunity to the Orissa police to unleash its brutality?

9. When with your irresponsible behavior you create a circumstance that can make anyone vulnerable and create a volatile situation why do you complain if you at all become a collateral damage? Will OUJ take ‪#‎Sarathisaga‬ as a test case and set up guidelines for the media houses in Orissa, at least for its members? Remind you NBA learnt its lesson after 26/11 coverage.

10. Was this story needed such a relentless coverage round the clock for five days? Could this story have been presented in a better way without recklessness and brazenness? Is it such a big issue that is Orissa confronted with today? Will OUJ ask its members to introspect and also take steps to prescribe a set of code of conduct like all the demigods set it for all others?

I am a kid before all the demigods mentioned above. I’ve grown up watching and reading you. If this is the standard you set for us kids, then think what kind of future are you all going to create?

Hope you all will answer the above questions. After all the demigods have the power to make or break (sorry destroy) anything and everything, at least in Orissa.

Please answer my questions, so that I don’t live in fear and apprehension. With your permission may I hang out with a woman (who could be a public figure), yes if at all that meets the moral standards set by you all.

Regards,
A kid in Media block who follows you all for his daily peg of news.

Oriya Daily ‘The Samaja’ spews misogynistic comment against women of Western Countries

Women of Western Countries change their lovers and husbands hundred times a day, it editorially says.

Women need to be whipped to understand how precious is their IJJAT (chastity), says Sunday’s editorial column of the Samaja that had allowed itself to be used recently as the propaganda platform of Hindu chauvinist Praveen Togadia and a few months earlier had tried to whip up communal acrimony between the Hindus and the Muslims to create communal polarization before the municipal elections, for benefit of Hindu fundamentalists in Hindu dominated urban areas.

Samaja Ed. Colmn. 19 April 2015At the center of its motivation to pen and publish this obnoxious editorial lies an instance of suicide by a minor girl as her IJJAT was looted by a LAMPAT (satyr) who entrapped the victim through postings in social media: Facebook.

It has rained abuses on the social media while trying to convince the readers that because of social media many societal offenses are taking place.

The social-mediascape has become the grave yard of social values and sexual disciplines, if what it has said is material to put credence to.

It has reached the zenith of its mischief by informing its readers that evolution of social media like Facebook and Twitter has its root in the western culture wherein “women change their lovers and husbands a hundred times everyday”.

It has justified the suicidal death of the sexually exploited unmarried girl, who made sacrifices of her IJJAT being entrapped in the Facebook, by a man in guise of love.

misogynic comment of Samaja

“What other way than suicide was available to her?” it has asked, when, unlike western culture that stands for women changing their lovers and husbands a hundred time everyday, India stands for chastity that she did away with.

Where from the Samaja has got the data that in western countries “women change their lovers and husbands hundred times a day” is not revealed in the said editorial column. But, misogyny so shamelessly displayed therein is certainly an affront to ethics of journalism adopted in India.

Laxmanrekha for Journalists: Nothing but Rubbish

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Currently, and curiously after skirmish between Orissa’s Revenue Minister and Media persons on September 15 in the State Secretariat in the Minister’s chamber, there is a hogwash, apparently promoted by powers that be, that, the journalists in their attempt to get information should not cross the ‘Laxmanrekha’.

Even a senior fraternal brother – whom I adore – in his natural desire to see the charisma of Press gets no more affected, has added a bit force to this hogwash, by innocently opining that the ‘Laxmanrekha’ should be adhered to.

As it silently upsets the distinction of Press, I would like first to reflect on ‘Laxmanrekha’.

What is ‘Laxmanrekha’?

It is a machination of strangulation of human rights. A contrivance of a way to restrict freedom.

Let us go to its root.

In denying Sita the right to move freely even in the premises of their cottage in the Jungle, her husband’s younger brother Laxman of the epic Ramayana had drawn three lines in his arrow on the soil, saying, “you can come thus far, but cannot go any farther”. This is known as Laxmanrekha.

No journalist is supposed to be a Sita and the so-called Laxmanrekha has no applicability to journalism.

People in a democracy have the right to be informed and the journalists are duty bound to serve that ‘right’. So, ‘Laxmanrekha’ does not fit into their scheme.

Whosoever of the journalists favor the concept of ‘Laxmanrekha’, argue that, media persons should end their endeavor to elicit answers when a minister, a political leader or a public servant refuses to respond to their queries. ‘Right to silence’ as legalized in Nandini Satpathy Vrs P.L. Dani case, perhaps instigates them to advance such suggestion.

This is not acceptable

This legal phenomenon is relevant to public prosecution, but cannot be acceptable in matter of public information and the people’s right to information. Article 20(3) of Constitution of India has no applicability to journalists endeavor to obtain information for the public.

The way the country has been forced to change into a plutocracy, and the way political leaders have become lawbreakers in rising numbers taking advantage of readiness of many in the executive government to go to any extent to satisfy their avarice, and the way India is crumbling into “Two Indias” in terms of highest judicial wisdom expressed in observation of the Supreme Court – a ‘small India’ of the ultra-high-net-worth-individuals counting at best a couple of hundreds and the ‘large India’ of the wretchedly poor innumerable Indians – and, amongst many other syndromes, the way implementation of labor laws and other welfare Acts are declining, and the way welfare programs are being hijacked by the rich for benefit of the rich in which the politico-executive nexus is helping them; it is time for the journalists to be assertive, to refuse to be brow-beaten, to side with the poor and disadvantaged, to be the voice of the voiceless, to ignore the functionaries’ pleas of privacy, to elicit information from them for the public at any cost; and for this, to ignore the concept of ‘thus far, no farther’ must be a must for the journalists; because. it is incumbent upon them to stay sentinels of the people.

Be it appreciated that a sentinel never bothers about restrictive laws in his act of safeguarding the master i.e. in this case the people of this country, who are so betrayed and so severely jeopardized by strengthening of plutocracy.

No journalist should, therefore, feel any qualms in adopting any available method to elicit information from escaping politicians and public functionaries as people have the right to be informed; and in this lies the key to emancipation.