Under Majhi govt, Odisha journalists allowed entry into state secretariat after 4 years - Hindustan Times
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Under Majhi govt, Odisha journalists allowed entry into state secretariat after 4 years

ByDebabrata Mohanty
Jun 13, 2024 10:00 AM IST

Apart from stopping the entry of journalists, the Naveen Patnaik government in July 2022 had banned the entry of journalists in schools

Over four years after the Naveen Patnaik government stopped the entry of journalists into the Lok Seva Bhawan, the Odisha secretariat in Bhubaneswar, the BJP government led by chief minister Mohan Majhi on Wednesday threw open the gates to media persons on the first day in office.

Odisha journalists at the Lok Seva Bhawan on Wednesday (HT Photo)
Odisha journalists at the Lok Seva Bhawan on Wednesday (HT Photo)

Entry of journalists into Lok Seva Bhawan premises was restricted by the BJD government in March 2020 following the Covid-19 pandemic. Two years later, the ban was partially lifted for accredited journalists. However, most journalists from TV news channels and newspapers who did not have accreditation could not enter the Secretariat as the Patnaik government refused to lift the ban on their entry despite demand by opposition leaders and journalists’ associations.

The BJP had promised to lift the ban once they came to power.

Journalist Ramachandi Ranasingh said it was a draconian decision on part of the Patnaik government. “The Fourth Estate is supposed to draw Laxman Rekha for the government. But in Odisha, the government drew Laxman Rekha, curbing its freedom in more ways than one can imagine. Today, we feel unencumbered. I am glad that the BJP kept its promise,” he said.

Apart from stopping the entry of journalists, the Naveen Patnaik government in July 2022 had banned the entry of journalists in schools in some areas after news channels showed how poor students were in mathematics, triggering a political row.

In Dhenkanal, the district education officer asked block education officers and school headmasters to not allow unauthorised entry of journalists into schools and classrooms, and to report such matters to the police. A similar directive was issued in Kendrapara as well.

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