NEW DELHI, Sep 10: The Indian Journalists Union (IJU) has expressed serious concern over the job termination of three senior most journalists by The Shillong Times (TST), a leading English daily published from Shillong, Meghalaya.
“The three senior journalists were sacked summarily without serving any show cause notices and enquiry which is mandated by the labour laws,” the IJU stated in a press release.
The reason behind the sacking of the journalists as mentioned in the termination letter is “Covid-19 generated reasons,” which cannot be accepted as there is no such provision for arbitrary sacking of journalists in the laws governing the services of journalists, the statement said.
IJU president Geetartha Pathak and secretary-general Sabina Inderjit said in the statement that TST earlier allegedly resorted to salary cut in the name of financial constraint due to the pandemic, and also forced its staffers, including journalists, to work in a “Covid-19 exposed environment.”
“The journalists and other staff of TST are very much cooperative with the management, which is why they have not protested against the salary cut, understanding the stress on media revenue,” they said.
The IJU leaders said that sacking of journalists at such a hard time is “inhuman and not acceptable.” They also said that TST being a leading daily was enjoying the lion’s share of the government’s advertisement revenue and other incentives for the last 75 years “and they have all the strength to withstand a few month’s pandemic-generated temporary crisis.”
The union demanded that TST management withdraw the termination order against the three senior journalists, and also urged the Meghalaya government to take suitable action against the newspaper management for the illegal termination of services of the journalists, illegal pay cuts, and violating the wage board’s provisions.