Authorities Must Protect Journalists’ Rights after Indian Media Group Meltdown


Media Release: India                                                                                        

May 24, 2013                   


The International Federation of Journalists joins

affiliates and partners in India in urging the authorities to take all

necessary steps to protect the rights of journalists retrenched after a media

group promoted by a finance company in the eastern Indian metropolis of Kolkata

declared insolvency and shut down.


On March 26, journalists and other employees at a

number of media companies promoted by the Saradha group – a finance and real

estate operator based in Kolkata – were told that all operations would cease on

April 1. Most of the seven hundred journalists who work in these media

companies had not been paid their salaries since January.


The closures affected no fewer than four daily

newspapers ­– the Bengal Post and Seven Sisters Post in English, Azad Hind in Urdu and Prabhat Varta in Hindi – along with

weekly magazines in Bengali and Urdu, and a number of news and entertainment



These abrupt closures though not entirely

unanticipated, followed the meltdown of a company that had mobilised savings

from across the state with assurances of healthy returns – and then ventured

into influence peddling by buying up a number of media assets.


The IFJ learns that some among the younger journalists

who were laid off with the collapse of the Saradha group have obtained

alternate employment at much lower salaries, though the more senior and

experienced hands still remain unemployed.


The state government of West Bengal has launched a

fiscal rescue package to restore the savings of the thousands of investors who

suffered from the Saradha meltdown.


The IFJ urges that due attention be paid to the needs

of the journalists and other employees of the group, at least in terms of

meeting the backlog of their salaries and paying them retrenchment compensation

as mandated by law.


“We see the Saradha group meltdown and the collapse of

its extensive media holdings as a consequence of a very poor system of

regulation”, said the IFJ Asia-Pacific.


“Journalists and other workers in the media should not

be asked to pay the penalty for the failures of the media regulatory apparatus

in India”.



For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0950


represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries


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