Guwahati, May 24:
At a time when journalists are keeping company with Covid-19 warriors at the forefront so as to keep people informed of the unprecedented crisis, some media houses are displaying rank heartlessness and irresponsibility. In a recent incident in Guwahati which has triggered widespread dismay among the journalist fraternity, a married lady reporter of a TV news channel has been given marching orders after she informed the management of her pregnancy and requested transfer to the news desk.
Taking serious note of the incident, a group of senior journalists based in Guwahati have sought the intervention Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal to ensure justice for the lady scribe. A national platform for women journalists, Network of Women in Media, India also called upon the National Commission for Women and the State Commission for Women to take suo moto cognizance of the matter.
The lady reporter as well as her elder brother, a popular theatre personality of Assam, too to social media to detail how she had even offered to go on ‘leave without pay’ so that she could rejoin work at the earliest after childbirth. But the management of Prag News, a city-based satellite news channel, instead asked her to resign forthwith. Meanwhile, she informed that she has been deprived of benefits under Employees’ State Insurance Corporation because of the management’s default.
“My sister **** is forced to resign from Prag News (Assam) because of her pregnancy!!! Is there any law?” queried her brother in an anguished Facebook post. It has been reliably learnt that some other employees of the channel were also shown the door recently as a cost cutting measure due to the Covid-19 crisis. It is galling that some media houses are doing precisely this, that too when journalists are risking their health and working round the clock to gather and disseminate news.
“Whatever the reason, a lady scribe should not be sacked because of the natural process of conceiving after marriage,” said a statement issued by Biman Chandra Hazarika, Rupam Baruah, Manas Kumar Mahanta,Girindra Kumar Karjee, Mukul Kalita, Sabita Lahkar, Nava Thakuria, Nayan J Bhuyan, Biswajit Nath, Rajib Choudhury, Digambar Patowary, Anjanil Kashyap, Anirban Choudhury, Dipankar Devsarma, Ranjan K Barua, etc.
Arguing that the incident would send a wrong signal against the recruitment of women in offices and it would finally jeopardize the campaign for women’s empowerment in the country, the senior journalists also appealed to media workers, particularly women workers, to rise to the occasion so that the discriminated scribe gets due justice at the earliest.
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