Odisha News Insight

We failed Journalist Radhanath Mahapatra

ONI Bureau: Veteran Odia Cine Journalist Radhanath Mohapatra died at the age of 56 on May 9, 2018 following a prolonged illness. Tributes and condolences poured in. People seek to remember his contribution to Journalism and Odia Cine Industry. But, did we do enough when he was alive?

Radhanath worked as a Journalist for the last 20 years in Odia news papers ‘Sambad’, ‘Dharitri’, ‘Samaya’ and ‘Nitidin’. He also worked as an Associate Editor in Cine Sambad. He received several awards.

Radhanath Mahapatra has been suffering from several critical ailments for the last few years. When things went worse, his wife appealed to CM Naveen Patnaik and PM Narendra Modi in December 2017 after opening a Twitter handle. Unfortunately, she did not know to tag other relevant people in media and social sphere. So, it was quite obvious that her appeal fell on deaf ears.

Although she kept tweeting the CMO and Naveen Patnaik continuously, there was no response at all. She finally expressed her displeasure and stopped after 2 months. What’s the use of having Twitter Handles and asking people to air their grievances when your handlers ignore such distress calls? The CMO has a lot to answer. And, the PMO too can’t escape the blame here.

On April 18, 2018, Radhanath Mohapatra was admitted to Aditya Care Hospital in a critical condition. The bill was huge and he needed more to undergo critical operations.

His family and well wishers circulated a message on WhatsApp and Facebook, seeking help. It’s not known whether anyone helped or not. But, it’s clear that he did not get the support he deserved. He finally breathed his last on May 9, leaving a series of unanswered questions for us.

1. Is the Life of a Journalist so cheap?
2. Why the Chief Minister remains silent despite the series of tweets addressed to him?
3. If it’s not the failure of CM, will he ensure to take action on his Social Media handlers and improve the mechanism in future?
4. Don’t we need a Journalists’ Corpus Fund to deal with such cases?
5. Will the PMO ensure that such cases are treated with highest priority and respective State Governments are notified immediately?

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