मृणाल पांडे के हिंदुस्तान से जाने की खबर के बाद से कई नई जानकारियां सामने आ रही हैं। भड़ास4मीडिया के पास मौजूद दस्तावेजों के मुताबिक हिंदुस्तान, दिल्ली से जिन एक दर्जन से ज्यादा पत्रकारों को एक साथ निकाला गया था, उनमें से कई ने प्रधानमंत्री मनमोहन सिंह से एचटी ग्रुप के रवैए की लिखित शिकायत की थी। यह लिखित शिकायत भी प्रधानमंत्री की सलाह पर की गई, जिसका उल्लेख शिकायत पत्र के उपर दिए गए पहले पैरे में भी है।
दरअसल, इसी साल 10 अप्रैल को प्रधानमंत्री मनमोहन सिंह के साथ देश की महिला प्रेस क्लब के सदस्यों की एक बैठक होटल ताज पैलेस में आयोजित की गई थी। बैठक में क्लब की एक वरिष्ठ महिला सदस्य ने, जो कि हिंदुस्तान की सामूहिक छंटनी की शिकार हुईं थीं, पत्रकारों को बिना कोई सूचना दिए, अवैध तरीके से हटाए जाने की मुद्दा उठा दिया। तब प्रधानमंत्री ने सारी बात लिखकर देने को कहा। इसके दस दिन बाद 20 अप्रैल 2009 को प्रधानमंत्री को संबोधित दो पन्ने की एक चिट्ठी भेज दिया गया। यह पत्र भड़ास4मीडिया के पास है। इस पत्र के बाद प्रधानमंत्री मनमोहन सिंह की मीडिया सलाहकार शीला संधू के कहने पर पूरे मामले की एक फैक्टशीट भी अलग से दिया गया। फैक्टशीट में सब हेडिंग्स के जरिए एक-एक पैरे में संक्षिप्त पर संपूर्ण बात रखी गई है। इस फैक्टशीट में एचटी मीडिया की मालकिन शोभना भरतिया, प्रमुख संपादक मृणाल पांडे और स्थानीय संपादक प्रमोद जोशी का भी उल्लेख है। शोभना भरतिया के बारे में कहा गया है कि उन्होंने कांग्रेस की नामित सांसद होते हुए भी कांग्रेस सरकार की छंटनी संबंधी अपील को नजरअंदाज किया।
भरोसेमंद सूत्र बताते हैं कि प्रधानमंत्री और प्रधानमंत्री कार्यालय की तरफ से एचटी प्रबंधन को इस मामले को देखने और इस पर विचार करने हेतु एक पत्र भेजा गया था। मृणाल की अब हुई विदाई में पत्रकारों द्वारा पीएम से की गई शिकायत का कितना हाथ है, यह तो पता नहीं पर अब जबकि मृणाल पांडे इस्तीफा दे चुकी हैं, कई पत्रकार इस शिकायती पत्र को भी विदाई के लिए प्रबंधन पर दबाव बनने का एक कारण मान रहे हैं।
हम यहां इस फैक्टशीट को प्रकाशित कर रहे हैं। फैक्टशीट के बाद दो लिंक दिए गए हैं, जिस पर क्लिक कर प्रधानमंत्री को भेजे गए मूल पत्र को पढ़ सकते हैं। पहले फैक्टशीट-
JOURNALISTS’ RETRENCHMENT IN HT MEDIA LTD
SHAMEFUL NEGLECT OF PM’S APPEAL BY CONGRESS-NOMINATED MP : Retrenched 13 senior journalists in one stroke: The HT Media Limited in one stroke forced some 13 senior journalists of Hindustan (Delhi Edition) under threat of termination with just two months basic salary in lieu of notice period. Overall across various editions over forty journalists have been forced to resign in a similar manner.
The act was deliberate and well-thought : The environment for this drastic action was being made for quite some by editor Mrs Mrinal Pande and Senior Resident Editor Pramod Joshi. They used to say repeatedly in routine editorial meetings that the company was in financial trouble.
Never expected Congress MP would disregard PM’s appea l: The PM Man Mohan Singh had appealed to corporate houses not to retrench people in the name of slow-down yet Congress-nominated MP Mrs Shobhana Bhartia’s company threw this advice to the wind, where as other media companies facing similar financial challenges did not do that. They only chose to reduce salaries of highly paid journalists.
Journalists are jobless, but print media given bail-out twice : The Government has given print media houses bail out twice. Reduced the custom duty to zero. Increased the DAVP rates twice. This was done soon after the above incident of retrenchment of journalsits. In fact the retrenched journalist employees should have been given the bail-out.
Seniors sacrificed and new recruited at less than minimum wages : Just before the retrenchment of senior journalists, eleven freshers at a salary of just Rs 11,000=00 had been recruited in Delhi alone so that the work did not suffer. This salary is much less than what had been prescribed by wage boards. HT Media Ltd is on the one hand retrenched so many journalists, on the other hand it is on the expansion spree. They have announced launch of several new editions in UP for which seemingly they have advertised for Resident Editors.
There was no complaint about performance of retrenched Journalists : All retrenched journalists had impeccable record so far as their performance is concerned. There was no charge-sheet, no complaint about their performance, no prior intimation to search a new job. At a notice of ten minutes they were made jobless because they proclaimed “there is an special situation in the company”. After finishing the Workers Union HT Media Ltd employs only on contract and that too on arbitrarily designed humiliating conditions. Since there is no union, the management at the advice of Editor Mrs Mrinal Pande acts like a feudal lord and no process of natural justice is followed.
The contracts were renewed only three months ago : The contract of employment was renewed by HT Media Ltd only three months ago in case of most of the retrenched journalists. But as news of slow down were pouring in, and the 3rd Quarter result of the company was announced, the same journalists assured of job for another term were retrenched. This happened when PM had been advising corporate houses to reduce salaries if it was so necessary rather than taking jobs.
Operational profits of HT Media Ltd has not reduced : The December quarter results of the company revealed that income from operations had not reduced, consumption cost of raw material (newsprint) had not increased, employee cost had only decreased, total expenditure had gone down, profit after interest had increased compared to the last quarter. Yet journalists in such a large number were made jobless. It was a social crime and corporate irresponsibility. There was an exceptional item which had caused a one time loss of 12.79 crore in December quarter. Even after this exceptional item loss there was net profit of Rs 7.82 crore in the quarter which was not substantially less than the average quarterly profit of previous three-four years. Moreover the reduced profit during the 3rd quarter was because of certain strategic decisions of the company’s top management. And if their decision had proved wrong, there was no reason to retrench modestly paid journalists. After the government bail out, the share prices of HT Media Ltd now have almost doubled whereas the senior journalists who are burdened with maximum family liabilities being in their middle age, have been made jobless.
HT Media is diehard anti-labour : It is pertinent to remind that the HT Media has consistently pursued anti-labour policies and several cases are pending against it in labour courts. It had in one stroke thrown out its 364 non-journalist employees three years ago. The judicial system of the country could not decide on their case even after three years.
Wage Board is not implemeted in HT Media : HT Media Ltd has taken advantage of non-existence of workers’union and employs journalists only on 3 years contract, pays them less salary than fixed by statutory wage boards for journalists and non-journalists. The company claims that by dispensing with the wage board linked employment, the salaries of journalists have increased. This is a patent lie. The fact is journalists’ job security has been taken away and salaries have been reduced. Because of the feudal attitude and no transparent system, the honest and sincere journalists have suffered, who had for several decades gave value and prestige to the newspaper.
What is required now ? : Reinstate all retrenched journalists of Hindustan with immediate effect.
प्रधानमंत्री को भेजा गया मूल पत्र पढ़ने-देखने के लिए क्लिक करें-