State Level Media Workshop by Odisha Election Watch and ADR

‘Media’s Watchdog Role essential for free and fair Election’


Bhubaneswar: A free and fair election is essential in a democracy and it can not be achieved without the watchdog role of media , eminent journalists former bureaucrats and senior election officials said here in a state level workshop on the “Free, Fair Election & Fourth Estate”  organised by Odisha Election Watch in collaboration with Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) & PECUC.

Giving  keynote address  Dr. Vipul Mudgal, Senior Journalist and Trustee of ADR   emphasized  on media’s independent and watch dog role to create an environment for free and fair elections. Describing how paid news and fake news are being used to influence voters Dr, Mudgal said that media has to play a role to provide people the right information.Sometimes data  are being manipulated to achieve the own goal. Fact is that digital reality can be manipulated both positively & negatively. Paid news, fake news & hate speech are enemy of democracy creating challenges for free and fair elections and need to be opposed by all sections.

Mr. Raghuram R. Iyer, OAS(s) Joint Chief Electoral Officer,Odisha discussed about the Election Commission’s guide line for  media, various information about the electoral procedures . He emphasised that all the eligible citizen must enroll themselves as a voter and  vote without becoming prey to any lure. Voter enrollment date has been extended upto 15 November he mentioned.

Mr.Ranjan Kumar Mohanty,Coordinator,Odisha Election Watch gave welcome address and spoke about the campaign of OEW  for electoral reforms and promoting ethical voting.

Srj. Baikuntha Nath Panigrahi, former director of Doordarshan and OEW core team member shared the purpose of the workshop. He gave emphasis on the role of media in making and breaking of a leader. Media should be ready to take the news to the common people and to inform and educate them about their right by utilizing all the available media. He ended  his speech with the note that every person must vote and vote for right person.

Chairing the inaugural session  Sri Sahadeva Sahoo former Chief Secretary of Odisha and  Head of Odisha election Watch told that  Journalists should take responsibility to educate people about their voting rights & choosing the right person.

A panel discussion was also held on “Media Ethics & Accountability in Election”. it was moderated  by eminent journalist Srj. Ashok Pradhan .  Senior renowned Journalist   Mr. Samapd Mohapatra, Mr. Sandeep Sahu & Mr. Manoranjan Mishra discussed about issues,concerns,challenges and prospects.. The session Free and fair elections and grassroot experiences chaired by  Eminent journalist Jatindra dash and Mr. Priyaranjan Sahoo,Senior journalist initiated discussion as key discussant and after that reporters participating the workshops discussed the grassroot situation and committed to work for strengthening democracy at grassroot. Amongst others Dr. Seba Mohapatra,K.K.Swain of OEW spoke.

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A team of young journalists headed by Subhransu Panda, founder-editor of Odisha's leading news portal and magazine Odisha Story. Mail: editor@odishastory.com