Bhubaneswar: In a peculiar development, the ruling BJD today alleged that Odia news channel OTV is airing news with blinkered eyes favouring BJP to help them win the upcoming Bijepur by-poll in Bargarh district.
A delegation of BJD comprising of senior BJD leader Surya Narayan Patra and Rajya Sabha MP Pradap Deb, two spoke persons of the party, met Odisha Chief Electoral Officer and filed a petition in this regard requesting him to consider such news items as ‘paid news’.
“OTV, on the pretext of news collection in the run-up to the Bijepur by-poll has actually aired various programmes against the BJD. Those anti-BJD programmes include panel discussions, showing photographs, carrying scrolling below news, etc. Such an exercise is synonymous with ‘paid news’”, alleged BJD Vice-President and Food Supplies & Cooperation Minister Surya Narayan Patro while briefing media persons at the party headquarters here.
“The honourable Election Commission of India has issued a directive against such news recently. It has been directed if such ‘paid news’ are flashed, collection should be made. It ought to be treated as advertisement,” he added.
The BJD leader said,“Hence, we have petitioned the Election Commission to direct its officials entrusted with the task of controlling media against such ‘paid news’. In a bid to see that the BJP candidate wins the election, the programmes being aired by OTV should be calculated how much they cost. The amount should be duly included in the election expenditure of the BJP candidate as per the norms fixed by the Election Commission of India.”
On the other hand, OTV clarified that BJD’s allegations are baseless and false. “Be it news schedules, panel discussions or news scrolls, OTV has never been partisan. On the other hand, the merit of news forms is the only yardstick of telecasting. OTV doesn’t believe in the concept of ‘paid news’. Amid the fight of political parties to prove one-upmanship, dragging OTV is highly condemnable. These allegations are just a means to defame the channel and an attempt in futility,” said OTV in its clarification.