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Orissa journalists protest against colleague’s arrest

Posted by Admin on November 20, 2009

Bhubaneswar, Oct 12 (IANS) Over 100 journalists of Orissa Monday protested outside Raj Bhavan against the arrest of a scribe last month on charges of sedition and assisting Maoists.

Wearing black badges and holding placards, the journalists launched the silent protest for more than an hour against police action against Laxman Choudhury who continues to be in jail despite Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s intervention.

‘Stop terrorising media’, ‘Freedom of speech is our birth right’ and ‘Respect the fourth estate, don’t mess around’ read the placards.

‘It was a silent protest and continued for more than a hour,’ Prasant Patnaik, one of the protesting journalists, told IANS.

Choudhury, a reporter with Oriya daily Sambad, was arrested Sep 21 from Mohana area in Gajapati district after a packet containing Maoist leaflets addressed to him was recovered from a bus conductor.

Police accused Choudhuri and the conductor of waging war against the government and sedition, criminal conspiracy and assisting Maoist activities.

A four-member delegation of journalists, including Prasant Patnaik, met the chief minister at his office late Friday and submitted a memorandum signed by a large number of mediapersons, urging him to release Choudhury.

‘Though the chief minister had promised to act on the matter, the poor scribe continues to languish in the jail,’ Prasant Patnaik said.

He alleged that the police had acted against Choudhury because he had published a news story that the police were hand-in-glove with drug traders who were paying huge amounts as bribes.

‘We had shown to the chief minister a packet, which contained the same Maoist leaflets, that was delivered to a Bhubaneswar-based journalist by the postal department, and he agreed that the charges levelled against Choudhury were unwarranted,’ the journalist added.

Source: Orissa journalists protest against colleague’s arrest

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