Indian Federation of Working Journalists (IFWJ) is shocked and dismayed at the bloodbath in many newspapers in the time of Coronavirus. The Hindustan Times, considered to be one of the wealthiest newspapers of the country, has sacked more than 150 employees from its Delhi office. It is reported that its management is going to pull down the shutters of the Patna and Pune editions. Another top newspaper, the Times of India, has also taken the recourse of retrenching the employees on a very large scale and for closing some of its editions. Many newspapers like Dainik Bhaskar and Rajasthan Patrika have adopted the dirtiest possible tricks to remove the employees without even paying them their legitimate dues.
In a statement, the IFWJ President BV Mallikarjunaih, Vice-Presidents, Hemant Tiwari and Keshab Kalita have asked the governments of Delhi, Assam, Maharashtra and Rajasthan to intervene forthwith so that jobs of the journalists and non-journalists can be saved at the time of the terrible Pandemic. It is highly distressing that a newspaper like ‘The Telegraph’ of the ABP Group, which claims to be the leader of righteousness (?) has asked all the employees of its Guwahati edition to resign to be effective from 31st May. This newspaper claims to have the fifth-highest readership in the country. Similarly, another popular Assamese weekly ‘Sadin’ of Pratidin group has laid off most of its employees by giving a paltry compensation of one month’s salary.
IFWJ has called upon the leaders of all political parties to exert pressures on the governments to take stern action against the cruelty of media houses, who are terminating the services of employees by throwing the labour laws to the wind without any qualms and compunctions.