India: Journalist sacked due to pregnancy  

A TV journalist was forced by bosses to submit her resignation for being pregnant and not being "mobile" enough to report. The International Federation (IFJ) and its Gender Council have strongly condemned this sexist and inhuman decision and called for her immediate reinstatement

Credit: Ranjita Rabha

Journalist Ranjita Rabha, who worked for 14 years with Prag News AM Production Pvt Ltd based in Guwahati, in the north-eastern State of Assam, India was forced to submit her resignation on May 5 by the Channel’s management after she returned to work after nearly one-and-a-half month’s leave, following advice from her Executive Editor. The management argued that given her pregnancy, she was not agile enough to report. She was told she would not be able to work properly and the company needed more active and mobile people.  

The Indian Journalists Union (IJU) strongly condemned her sacking calling it ‘inhuman’ and said it brazenly violated the Maternity Benefit Act. Following the IJU’s condemnation of the incident, the Indian National Commission of Women (NCW) issued a statement on 26 May saying: “Of all the rights of women, one of the rights is motherhood; however, a recent incident from Assam exposes the double-standards of organisations towards its pregnant employees.”  

The NCW condemned " the insensitive attitude of the channel towards its pregnant employee" and pointed out that the sacking violated the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961.  The Commission asked “Prag News” to urgently send feedback on the incident.

The IFJ Gender Council Steering Committee has condemned this act of sexism which blatantly violates principles of equality of treatment and dignity at work as well as raising serious concerns over gender equality principles which India has endorsed. The Committee expressed solidarity with the journalist and Indian colleagues and called for Rabha's immediate reinstatement.  

"We cannot tolerate that media can unilaterally sack women and discriminate against them on the basis of pregnancy, " said IFJ Gender Council chair Maria Angeles Samperio. "We urge Prag News to review immediately their decision and abide by fundamental gender equality principles ".

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 16

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 146 countries

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