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
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0950
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