Bhubaneswar: The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) today lodged a complaint with the Odisha Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) alleging violation of Model Code of Conduct by OTV by broadcasting ‘paid news’ yesterday (April 12). Along with the petition, the BJD delegation has enclosed a pen drive as evidence.
The BJD’s complaint in writing mentions, “On 12th April, 2019, there was an election programme by OTV television channel wherein the anchor continues to ask questions on people’s choices and preferences. Shockingly in the entire clip provided to you in a Pen Drive, Bhubaneswar Lok Sabha constituency which the Biju Janata Dal has been winning elections over the past several decades, the OTV anchor and the programme does not find a single person during the entire interview process (provided in the Pen Drive) who has a positive word of Biju Janata Dal or the State Government. During an unbiased programme, you would find a mix if not all which is also considered as balanced reporting.”
The petition added, “But throwing all journalistic ethics to the winds, OTV continues to only show people on this programme who want a change in Government and are against the Biju Janata Dal. Some of them go on to praise Bharatiya Janata Party and the anchor further continues to ask a woman voter leading questions ‘you should know that women are unsafe, what kind of Government you want?’ How can a journalist speak such leading questions and thereby subtly influence the outcome of the answer from the interviewee.”
In his media reactions, BJD spokesperson Sasmit Patra said, “Yesterday OTV aired a programme. Today we moved the CEO basing on a specific clip of that programme. Our clear complaint against OTV that it is conducting paid news programme.”
He added, “We have mentioned everything in writing and also submitted a pen drive as evidence with the CEO. 8-10 persons are being questioned and all the ten respondents are unanimous in saying that they need change.”
“We demand strict action against OTV,” quipped the BJD spokesperson.
On the contrary, OTV’s counter reaction was not available till the filing of this news item.