Indian Journalists Union ( IJU) on Thursday expressed serious concern at the termination of the services of three senior-most journalists by the Shillong Times, an official statement of the union body stated.
IJU joined the Shillong Times staff with solidarity for protesting against the illegal termination of services of the three journalists.
The three senior journalists were sacked summarily without serving any show-cause notices and enquiry which is mandated by the labour laws, said IJU in a press statement.
The reason of 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 the arbitrary sacking of journalists in the laws governing the services of journalists, the statement said.
IJU President and former member of Press Council of India Geetartha Pathak and IJU Secretary-General and Vice President of International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) Sabina Inderjit said in the statement that the Shillong Times earlier has allegedly resorted to a salary cut in the name of financial constraint due to the pandemic and also forced its staff including Journalists to work in a Covid-19 exposed environment.
The journalists and other staff of the Shillong Times are cooperative with the management, which is why they have not protested against the salary cut understanding the stress on media revenue.
The IJU leaders said that the sacking of journalists at such a hard time is inhuman and not acceptable. The IJU leaders also said that the Shillong Times 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, it said.
IJU demands the management to withdraw the termination order against the three senior journalists and also urges the state government to take suitable action against the newspaper management for the illegal termination of services of the journalists, illegal pay cuts, and violating wage board’s provisions, the statement said.