Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Sep 22:
After banning the entry of electronic media into the ministers’ corridor in the State Secretariat, the Odisha government today applied the same prohibitory order against the print media journalists.
The unofficial order, obviously issued by the ‘third floor’ bosses and put to practice by the security guards on duty at the Secretariat, in effect means that only those journalists, who have accreditation cards can step into the ministers’ corridor while media persons who have been issued Secretariat entry passes will have to remain content with loitering near the portico and enjoying the sight of the sprawling lush green lawn outside.
Condemning the restrictions imposed by the BJD government on the movement of media persons inside the Secretariat, leaders of opposition parties termed the order as a nasty attempt at “restricting democracy” in Odisha.
” Threatened and pushed to the edge after scams after scams came tumbling out of its cupboard, the BJD government is simply scared of the probing eyes of the media. It is desperate and wants to do everything to prevent the naked truths about its real face from reaching the public domain through the media,” said senior BJP leader Pratap Sarangi.
” It is not only imposing restrictions on media persons, but also on democracy in the state,” he said, adding, it shows the totalitarian nature of the corrupt Naveen Patnaik government.
The Congress party also condemned the government’s move to shackle the media.
“All political parties treat the press as the fourth pillar of the democracy. But, the BJD and its government are different creatures altogether. They are now trying to strangulate the media and the very essence of democracy only to hide their own misdeeds. It is first time in Odisha, the media persons are not allowed to enter into the ministers’ corridor. I strongly condemn this dictatorial and black order of the government,” said the state Congress chief Jayadev Jena.
However, while most of the ruling party leaders including ministers do not seem to approve of the ban order, no one is willing to go public about it for obvious reasons.
When asked to give his views on the unwarranted restrictions, the state Information and Public Relations minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak, was quick to repeat the famous Naveen one-liner- ” I will look into the matter.”
“The Naveen Patnaik government today is scared of basically three things- the media, the media and the media. The fourth, of course, is the CBI,” quipped a senior scribe, adding,” They need only PROs and stenographers. ‘Journalist’ is a bad word in the Secretariat now.”