Following is an excerpt from a report in

Editors and News Heads of leading Oriya and English newspapers and television channels have expressed their deep concern over the rising number of attacks on media persons in the state.

… The Editors expressed surprise over the fact that police had not taken any action on an elected member of the ruling Biju Janata Dal despite leading a brutal attack on Pipili-based journalist Rajat Ranjan Dash a week ago. They said it strengthened the perception that the state government was against Media Freedom. 

The Editors and News Heads resolved to join hands to ensure the Media responds as one when faced with such challenges.

I have read many news items on attacks on media persons in Odisha and these (the attacks) need to stop.

However, I think, one aspect is missing from the response.

One needs to analyze the reason behind the attacks and address the root cause. I think one of the root cause behind the attacks is that some people or organization rightly or wrongly feel that they have been unfairly portrayed by some media. Now if someone feels that way, what is their recourse.They can of course go to the courts and sue for libel but the courts in India and Odisha are too slow and by the time they process the case the aggrieved person incurs a lot of damage.

Many do not know that there is another outlet. They could file a complaint at the Press Council of India. See . That is a lawful outlet and thus there is absolutely no reason for people feeling aggrieved by media coverage to resort to violence and become a criminal.

I would suggest the MUFP to highlight this option in their articles and releases so that this outlet becomes well known. It will act as a safety valve and protect them from physical harm.

The media in Odisha does an outstanding job (and in trying circumstances) in keeping various people with power  and influence in check. The threat of media exposure of their misdeeds and/or high handedness constrains the people with power and influence.

However, with "media unity" where media people follow the unwritten code of not exposing each others misdeeds (which may be rare but is not zero), many people and organizations feel helpless against what they think as being victimized by some media.

Sometimes these people and organizations react to this in bad ways:

  • I was told one organization had signs made saying "Dogs and reporters of XYZ are not allowed". (XYZ is a media house in Odisha.)
  • Similarly recently there were reports of some police officials behaving badly with media person of a particular media organization.

My point is that the Odisha media as a group needs to also refelect on their own conduct and publicize venues such as and humbly tell people that they are not above criticism or mistakes and if someone feels that they have been wronged by media then they have an outlet such as which they can approach.

This will greatly enhance the respect of common people towards media and towards the job they do as the fourth pillar of democracy. It will also greatly enhance their safety.

I explored some of the reports of the Press Council of India by googling "Press Council of India Orissa" and found some interesting reports. From reading them it seems that indeed they are a fair organization and their process is impartial. Following are some links to read.