In a protest meeting held on Tuesday, 14 February 2012, the Media Unity for Freedom of Press ( MUFP ) has strongly condemned the move by Bhushan Steel Ltd, to implicate two Dhenkanal journalists in a case they have chosen to file against their striking workers. The company in its FIR has not only named Sri
Pradeep Senapati ( ETV ) and Sri Jayant Nath ( The Sambad ) who had gone to cover the workers’ strike as co-accused but also has mentioned them as media persons ! The MUFP has described this as a nasty and frontal attack on press freedom designed to terrorize and silence the media which has played a major role in exposing Bhushan’s blatant violations of environmental laws,exploitation of the local people as well as its miserable safety standards that have caused the death of over a hundred workers.

The MUFP has asked Bhushan Steel to withdraw the case filed against the two media persons with immediate effect failing which media persons across the state will be forced to launch a state-wide agitation. It also questioned the role of local police who had no qualms accepting the FIR that named two media persons in the list of accused.

While expressing solidarity with Sri Senapati and Sri Nath, the MUFP has warned private investors in the state against such black practices.

The MUFP has decided to send a 3-member delegation to Dhenkanal on a
fact-finding mission. The Committee will talk to all parties involved including the district administration and its final report will be submitted to the Governor of Odisha, the Speaker of the State Assembly, the Chief Minister, the Leader of Opposition as well as all MLAs during the budget session.

At the protest meeting which was attended by a large media delegation from Dhenkanal , Sri Pradeep Senapati of ETV and Sri Jayant Nath of the Sambad narrated their bitter experiences with the Bhushan Steel Ltd and the Dhenkanal police. Senior journalists and MUFP Presidium members Sri Prasanta Patnaik and Sri Rabi Das came down heavily on the steel company for their audacious attempt to implicate and harass journalists who refuse to sign along dotted lines. They also condemned the district administration for their alleged complicity in the matter and its failure to protect the rights and dignity of media persons engaged in their professional duty.

MUFP Condemns Keelhauling of ETV Reporter by OASP at Puri

While covering Suna Vesha of Lord Sri Jagannath at Puri, Srikanta
Sahoo, ETV News Reporter  has been subjected to violence of OASP
personnel inside the temple on Nov 21,2010. He was not only haughtily
keelhauled, his Press ID Card was snatched and thrown by the OASP personnel.

Media Unity for Freedom of Press condemns this uncivilized and
uncalled for action of the uniformed men against media. It is sad that
the Police has not registered the FIR filed by Sahu as yet and the
district police chief has been sitting nonchalant despite being
informed of the offense by a delegation of local journalists.

MUFP calls upon the authorities to initiate prompt action against the
concerned OASP staff and to ensure that the police in the State should
behave properly with the media so that the media can function freely to discharge
their duties for the benefit of the people and the State.

Prasanta Patnaik,
Subhas Chandra Pattanayak,
Sampad Mohapatra,
Rabi Das,
D.N. Singh,
Gopal Mohapatra,
Sudhir Patnaik.
Dwijen Padhi.

Corporate Culture Cripples Media Credibility, Says Prasanta Patnaik

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Eminent Journalist Prasanta Patnaik participating in ETv’s popular program, Sidha Katha (Straight Conversation) telecasted last night and repeated today noon, told interviewer Deba Prasad Das that corporate culture has taken the toll of media credibility as the thirst for advertisements has been forcing major mass media organizations to vet straight reports to the detriment of journalistic ethics.

Patnaik, who had relinquished the post of lecturer in English on the very day of his joining P.N.College (now autonomous) at Khurda to join Amrit Bazar Patrika, said, he had joined Journalism as that was a mission to him. Evolution of corporate economy has corrupted that mission to a profession where money is more propelling than cause of the society.

Responding to Das suggestion on Jaundiced journalism, he said, the phenomenon is more discernible at present because whosoever adopts that way of life becomes conspicuous with worldly comfort overnight. Yet, instances are rampant that notwithstanding how hard be real life, journalists are there that are addicted to ethics of journalism, principle and probity.

Recalling the devastations that the super cyclone 1999 had caused, he said, he had lost his professional detached stance while capturing the horrific pictures, which he will remember for ever as the worst of event covered so far when the occasion of giving a lift to Biju Patnaik in his scooter to the secretariat would continue as a pleasant memory. Biju had tried to show himself as a Chief Minister full of concern for the people and to show his oneness with them, he had, on his second innings, tried to come to the secretariat by riding over a bicycle. After a few pedals he fumbled and as Prasanta, by then the most active photo journalist in Bhubaneswar, was following him in his scooter, he asked him to take the lift. Prasanta said, he yet enjoys the event while dwelling in the memory lane.

Das wanted him to say of his stories. “I depict deeply known persons as I have studied them in my stories; but to my satisfaction, none of them has so far shown any disapproval of the way I have focused on them as my characters”, he said.

He was asked to say as to who of Orissa’s chief ministers he admires most. “Nandini Satpathy”, he said, throwing lights on her ability to develop friendship and her sincerity in friendship and humanitarianism which in her heart she was wedded to.

Asked to compare the present day with the time he had embraced journalism, Prasanta rued over the decadence in democratic norms and said, Orissa has become a land of oppression on media persons. As the Government is blatantly nonchalant, mafia has unleashed repression on newsmen many a times in last couple of years and the climate is so inclement that journalists are feeling most insecure in trying to stay committed to their ethics.

MUFP Thanks Angul for Solidarity with the Press

Media Unity for Freedom of Press ( MUFP) has thanked and congratulated the people of Anugul, as well as local leaders and organisations for expressing unprecedented solidarity with the mediapersons and observing “total bandh ” in Angul on 10th May, as a mark of their protest against brutal attack by C.I.S.F. Jawans on ETV reporter Mr. Jagadanand Pradhan when he was doing his duty.

They have set a great example of media-civil society unity that has steeled our resolve to fight all attempts at gagging the media with all our might, the MUFP statement has said.

The MUFP once again expressed its grave concern over the callousness of the Government machinery in arresting the assaulters and bringing them to the book and has said the media persons would no longer remain silent over such attacks and would be forced to react in a democratic manner to compel the Government to act against the attackers and ensure exemplary punishment to them.

The MUFP also appealed to the media fraternity all over to express solidarity with the media persons and civil societies of Anugul and elsewhere in the state so as to ensure that the state government/administration would not sleep over such important matter and act without further delay.

Thank you Angul and congratulations to fellow media persons for earning such overwhelming support of the public through good and pro-people reporting, the MUFP has stated.


Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Private TV channel ETV, busy in promoting religious revivalism, has taken advantage of a train accident to spread superstitions amongst its viewers.

Chennai-bound 2481 Up Howrah-Coromandel Express derailed near Jajpur Road railway station last night. The train was in uncontrollable high speed when 15 of the 24-coach super fast express derailed. The impact even catapulted six of the coaches while killing at least 16 and injuring more than 200 passengers, as many as 25 of them quite critically.

The cause of the catastrophe is under investigation. But ETV is busy in spreading superstitions. It has focused profusely in its 14th February 9 PM news bulletin on views of two Brahmins, a widow and a man, both with the Panda surname, to view the accident as an act of evil spirit. There was a similar accident at the same spot a few years ago, they say and simultaneously suggest that steps should be taken up to perform special puja to propitiate the spirit.

What next!


Subhas Chandra Pattanayak


Buddhist scripture Dammapada had within its fold very excellent sculptors who had built the world famous Konark temple for worship of Buddha in his clan name Aditya or Surya, the Sun, depicting together the valor of Kama-Vajrayani emperor Langula Narasimha Dev and the socio-philosophic concept of sexual union propounded by the immortal Sahajayani poet Sri Jaya Dev.

Concussed to the core by the rise of the Sahaja philosophy, agents of brahminism in post Langula Narasmha era not only destroyed Konark but also cooked up legends to replace Dhammapada with Dharmapada, a name cunningly coined for a 12 year old child whom the people of later generation were made to believe to be the son of the head sculptor Bishu Maharana, who, when 1200 of his fellow sculptors had failed, attracting thereby wrath of the emperor, to set up the top of the temple, had come to their rescue by completing the work overnight.

Forget for the time being the historical reality and accept the legend. Accept that the 12 year old son of Bisu Maharana, Dharmapada, had succeeded in setting up the top of Konark when others had failed. What happened to him? How did the legend maker treat this matchless child?

Legend says us that he was killed. The community of sculptors, who obviously developed inferiority complex, collectively decided that Dharmapada should die. The boy’s father Bishu Maharana being their leader, they asked him to determine as to with whom he should stand: with the community of sculptors or with the boy, who had proved that he was more efficient than others in the community. The father stood with the community and collectively they killed the gifted genius who was made to jump into the sea from the top of the temple that he alone had been able to set.

Orissa’s Child Welfare Minister Ms. Pramila Mallik, her Chief Naveen Patnaik and a bunch of non-Oriya people, envious of Orissa’s fame, strengthened by hypocrites shedding meretricious tears for Buddhia, the four years two months old wonder, who hailing from a Bhubaneswar slum has defeated all odds to carve out a berth for himself in the Limca Book of Records as the world’s best youngest marathon runner, on ground of health of the child, reminds us of how Dharmapada was eliminated by people suffering from inferiority complex. <img src=”budh2.jpg

Buddhia has, no doubt, made many people develop inferiority complex. After he made the mark to occupy a place in Limca Book of Records as the best youngest marathon runner of the world, those who are unable to tolerate the slum boy’s beaming fame have started putting stymies on his way in the guise of concern for his health. I am inclined to arrive at such a conclusion because of the fact that ever since Buddhia has attracted public attention as a marathon runner, none of these fellows has come forward to extend any help in real term to his wellbeing.

Minister for Women and Child welfare Ms. Mallik had baffled people by hurling obnoxious allegations against Mr. Biranchi Das, the man behind Buddhia’s epoch making success, when the boy had started catching media attention. She is now the most vociferous advocate of debarment of Buddhia from further use of his prowess in the way that has been done so far.

She is using her authority as a Minister to ban marathon running for Buddhia. She cannot say that she had not known of the marathon run program that bagged for him the coveted position in the Limca Book of Records. If such a run was sure to harm the boy according to her perception, why was she shy of stopping the event? Why didn’t she come forward to intervene as the Minister before the program proceeded? Was she wishing some harm to happen to the boy so that she could take advantage of that to prey upon Das? What was her real motive? Why did she choose to remain a silent spectator before the marathon run and why has she risen up now? These are questions that crave answers from Ms. Mallik.
<img src=”BUDHIA SINGH11
Why she is angry with Das is not public knowledge. But the question that hunts the pubic is: is she really concern with physical wellbeing of the slum dweller boy?

There is no record available to show us that she has saved slum children from the wretched helplessness and exploitation.

Everyday one can see slum children of Bhubaneswar straying on the conservancy lanes behind official quarters, including that of Ms. Mallik, in desperate search for rags to retain their lives. Has Ms. Mallik ever taken steps to rehabilitate any of them? Let her give us a name and we shall find out the truth. If not for any of slum dwelling children she has concentrated her concern, why for Buddhia? That too, in a style that is enough to destabilize the boy’s self-confidence?

If she is really worried over Buddhia’s health why has she never visited Buddhia at his cottage or at his training center so far to see as to how best could he be nurtured?

As the child welfare Minister it would have been proper on her part to visit Buddhia the moment his athletic prowess hit the headlines and to collaborate with his mentor to guide the boy in a better way to best utilize his prowess. She has never done this. Therefore, I am inclined to suspect that Ms. Mallik is not genuinely interested in Buddhia’s wellbeing. She being a political person, I am inclined to look at its political angle.

Only a few days ago, Buddhia was at the center of a politically hot matter that had stirred the entire State. Electronic media major ETV staged a competition for selection of a person as PRIYA ORIYA (Dear Oriya). Even though the exercise was stage-managed, no direct voter could ignore Buddhia.

The boy had become so much popular that he was elected by the direct voters to the final round of the competition where Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik was bracketed with him.

The final round of competition was carried out through SMS leading to declaration of Naveen as the winner. But people believe that had the selection been done through direct voting, the result could have gone in favor of Buddhia notwithstanding whatsoever might have been the hidden agenda of ETV.

Buddhia was defeated by Naveen Patnaik because the final round of votes was collected through mobile phones to the network of which the poor boy had no access. The Chief Minister won. But it was a politically sweating situation. A boy, less than five years in age, living in a slum, deprived by death of father, being bracketed with the Chief Minister in a popularity contest was enough to whip up a sense of rivalry in the later.

Naturally, the Chief Minister must not have cherished his position being bracketed with a four year old slum dwelling boy in popularity contest. And, therefore, it must have shrouded its impact over the psyche of his loyal colleagues in the cabinet.

It is to be noted that none of the cabinet colleagues of Naveen Patnaik, including Ms. Mallik, who are boasting of their popularity, was considered acceptable for the honor even in the primary stage of the competition when Buddhia Singh was found so suitable that he was placed in a bracket with the Chief Minister for final selection as “Dear Oriya”.

How the Chief Minister was given the victory in a stage-managed manner through SMS has been hinted to above. But what is pertinent at this stage is that, when the participating Oriyas stamped the small child Buddhia as suitable for the epithet “Dear Oriya”, Ms. Mallik, notwithstanding being the Child welfare Minister, was not found suitable for consideration even.

If she says that she is not jealous of Budhia, under such circumstances, it would look like an instance of abnormality. But Ms. Mallik is normal. Therefore, the State action to debar Buddhia from running seems to be based not on physical concern, but on political consideration.
<img src=”


Subhas Chandra Pattanayak


Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik was desperately anxious to show others that his credibility has not declined.

I had discussed this in these pages on 30th March.

Exactly as I had suspected, he has defeated a four year old boy in credibility contest even though the boy had never been made aware of the significance of such a contest!

The boy is Buddhia Singh, not even five years in age. He is the son of a wretchedly poor woman residing in a slum of Bhubaneswar. Marked for his self-confidence and readiness to brave all obstacles to hit a target, this wonderful boy has attracted world attention as the youngest but the most popular sports person of Orissa. Many a foreign forums have started suiting documentaries on him. He is such a darling of the people of Orissa that wherever he is going to participate in a marathon run, thousands and thousands of people from every nook and corner of the area, irrespective of age, stature and gender, are thronging the streets to have a glimpse of him, to welcome him. It is impossible on part of Naveen Patnaik to surpass this boy in popularity in a real contest.

Therefore a fake contest was organized by electronic media major ETV, which, notwithstanding being run by a non-Oriya owner, has been able to spread its network all over Orissa ever since Naveen Patnaik has become the Chief Minister. Another non-Oriya concern Airtel collaborated.

The contest was captioned PRIYA ORIYA, meaning Orissa’s dearest person. Selected persons were asked to suggest ten names for the contest. The organizers printed their own ballot papers, selected spots convenient to them for collecting the so-called votes, scrutinized and counted the so-called ballot papers after the stage managed polling, stored the ballot papers wherever they preferred and declared five names including Buddhia’s, as contestants in the final round.

Buddhia’s name provoked some to believe that the contest was perhaps genuine; because for any genuine Oriya this boy is certainly a dear one. But Buddhia was not made aware that his popularity was at stake in a contest against the Chief Minister. The final votes were collected through mobile phones. Buddhia has no mobile phone; he does not know how to use a mobile phone. He does not know who of the people that love him have mobile phones. He even could not support himself through a mobile phone. But according to ETV, Buddhia was surpassed in support by Naveen Patnaik, the Chief Minister of the State! Could there be a more crude mockery of popularity contest?

It was a surprise that the Chief Minister rushed down from Delhi to receive the felicitation given to him by ETV in a grand ceremony at Bhubaneswar, for having vanquished the four year old illiterate and ignorant boy Buddhia Singh in popularity contest. Has he not been personally eager to bag such a title as PRIYA ORIYA, could he ever allow himself to accept such a felicitation in such a manner?

He told the viewers that he was very happy to be felicitated by a girl child who was born on the day he had taken oath as the Chief Minister.

But how could he not grasp the significance of a Chief Minister publicly admitting that he knew of and has known that there was a contest between him as the Chief Minister and a four year old illiterate, ignorant, wretchedly poor slum dweller boy on the question of popularity, in which he has been declared as winner? How could a Chief Minister stoop so low to enjoy his own victory over such a boy, when, in reality, the boy, whose projected defeat helped him to bag the PRIYA ORIYA title, had no knowledge of the so-called contest?

Besides telling us how fidgety has become Naveen Patnaik after media survey showed his popularity in decline, the so called PRIYA ORIYA contest also shows to what extent ETV is capable of making a farce of media activism.