ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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‘Malicious and Unjust’ — Powerful Media Houses vs Journalists

Insecurity has become an acute ailment afflicting media professionals. Most journalists starting from editors are employed on contracts of three years or less, with an exit clause that permits them to leave or be fired on a notice of between one and three months. As a result, journalists have lost the courage to speak up or write about any issue that owners and managements do not want them to, including the issue of their own unstable working conditions. A number of media houses have been arbitrarily closing down editions or retrenching journalist and non-journalist staff while also going against the Majithia Wage Board recommendations but there is little coverage in the media about it.

A battle for the future of Indian journalism was sparked off on the afternoon of 5 January with the unexpected arrival of an email in the inboxes of some Hindustan Times employees. It announced the closure of four of its editions and three bureaus. The brief email from HT Media Executive Director Sharad Saxena said the paper’s editions and bureaus in Kolkata, Bhopal, Indore, Ranchi, Allahabad, Varanasi and Kanpur were being “shelved” from 9 January. The implications of the word “shelve” were not explained. There was no clarity on what would happen to the many journalists and support staff who worked in all these offices. Affected employees from editors downwards frantically reached for their phones, only to find that no one who could answer their queries was reachable.

Four days later, nearly all of them were jobless.

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Updated On : 26th Aug, 2021
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