New Delhi,June 24, (Scoop News)- The Delhi Union of Journalists and its Gender Council notes with deep concern the deteriorating work environment within media houses, particularly TV channels, which stands exposed by the attempted suicide of a woman TV anchor on the premises of India TV. Behind the glamour projected by the TV industry is the grim story of abysmal employment practices, 24/7 working hours, high pressure deadlines, arbitrary contracts and hire and fire practices.
The DUJ today approached the Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting, Prakash Javadekar, in this context and reiterated its long-standing demand that the Working Journalists Act be extended to the entire news media including the electronic media which lacks all regulations. In particular, the DUJ Gender Council pointed out that women employees, who are especially vulnerable to a variety of pressures, need greater protection of labour laws and regulations. Strong measures need to be urgently taken to prevent harassment at the workplace.
The DUJ demands a rollback of insecure contract employment which is frequently used to threaten and harass employees. It also demands the institutionalization of transparent and fair managerial practices in the mushrooming TV industry and the introduction of proper HR policies. The arbitrary termination of the India TV anchor, by treating an SMS to a senior as a resignation letter, exposes the lack of professionalism in the channel’s managerial practices.
DUJ calls upon senior journalists in managerial positions to be more sensitive and empathetic in their dealings with co-professionals, howsoever junior they may be. It is their duty to mentor and support younger colleagues, not harass or exploit them. It is unfortunately evident in the India TV episode that seniors misused their position to push a young woman to the edge.
Lastly, the DUJ condemns the blacking out of the suicide episode by most TV channels as a regrettable expression of managerial solidarity. A suicide attempt by a page 3 person or actor would have been headline news on all the channels for days at a stretch. Was this attempted suicide too close to home to make news? Should the media not scrutinize its own face in the mirror?
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