Skip to main content

Perhaps it’s easy to defy Trump, Modi or Mamta than taking on the behemoths inside media empires

Counterview Desk 
The following letter by Biswajit Roy, a journalist with The Telegraph (TT), the flagship of the Amrit Bazar Patrika Group of Calcutta, has gone viral on the social media:
Finally I resigned from The Telegraph, albeit under duress like 700 odd fired journalists and non-journalists in the ABP Group. Twenty journalists including 17 district correspondents in TT Bengal reporting have lost their jobs in this round.
The ABP management did not allow me to write my resignation letter but got me signed on a one line format that had no mention of the company’s current culling of its workforce. Instead, it pretended that I left out of my free will. Neither had I received a written assurance on the details of the ‘special package’ and statutory dues when I had to sign another format about payments. 
One of editorial bosses countersigned the latter as I asked for a promissory note from the management. My human relations (HR) handler told that the company would not commit formally to an individual (even if the job contract was between the company and me as individual) but no reason was offered. I had to insist for the photocopies of the two papers. The pressure on me to put in my resignation at the earliest was aimed at accomplishing the management’s mission by this month.
Although I would be released on March 1, my access to the office computer system was deactivated even before I tendered my resignation. It was meant to make me feel completely unwanted.
Also I was asked to surrender my entry swipe card. The arm-twisting tactics was evident as I was told that the processing of my dues would not begin unless I comply with. 
I became an outsider effectively on the very day. Now I would have to call or meet HR/accounts or editorial nodal men and meet them at the reception, if they want, to get my dues cleared. So I am at the mercy of the management to receive the fruits of its benevolence after serving the house for 20 plus years.
I am told to trust the company which did not think twice before humiliating and firing 700 odd men and women in the name of financial crisis but never bother to explain or discuss with the staffs on ways to overcome it. It did not bother to offer us an honorable exit or an amicable separation except a unilateral but informal assurance of a soothing package. Instead, a piece of paper handed over to the victims revealed the Orwellian absurdity of the world of ABP’s HR mandarins. 
It offered us help from career counselors, psychiatrists and tax consultants except an audience with the top guns or some exchange of parting messages, not even the corporate niceties like the exit interviews.
Like Kafka’s "Castle", we never reached the sanctum sanctorum of the media empire unless the presiding demigods wanted us to do so. Their high priests who are now manning the castle watchtowers are trying their best to behave like compassionate killers. But they may not know when and how the axe will fall on them. 
Those in the newsroom carried the defiant note by Columbia Journalism Review in the wake of America becoming the Trumpland or mocked Modi and Mamta for their megalomania, hardly showed the same courage of conviction when they were asked to change tunes from time and time as it suited the super bosses. 
If professionalism is the convenient euphemism for their meek submission, I expected them to protect the lambs they had shepherded so far, if not the perpetual prodigals like me. But sadly, that did not happen. Perhaps it’s easy to defy Trump, Modi or Mamta than taking on the behemoths inside media empires that goaded us to bask under the vainglory of independent journalism only under their strict control.
The all pervasive fear and deafening silence down the line is more alarming. I could not bid adieu digitally to my younger colleagues in the reporting since my access to internal system was locked. I thought of taking leave of everybody in person. 
But the silence and indifference was chilling as none met my eyes. It was the girl at the reception who said: ‘good bye sir’. There was some personal touch. And, I felt like crying. For the humiliation heaped on me at the fag end of my career, for the loneliness I suffered for my defiance, above all, for the shame of my inability to fight back.
The cowardice of my community leaders before the media owners is even more depressing. Despite the concerted attacks on journalists and non-journalists livelihoods across the country by the media barons they are keeping mum. “What can we do!” a Kolkata Press club office-bearer who himself has suffered termination just before his retirement told me when I asked him to call a meeting covering all the affected houses. 
If his reply was typical of a man who had resigned to his fate and wanted to reap the benefits out of losses at the end of his career, the deafening silence of community elders and bodies in Kolkata and elsewhere will surely invite further onslaughts on young men and women in the profession in a short time. If the latter is behaving like proverbial ostriches at the time of sandstorm, it the older jackasses with rubber spines are to be blamed more.
Kolkata Press club has managed to hold protest meetings and marches against ruling party or police attacks on journalists at different times despite the opposition and sabotage by the cronies of the rulers of the day, both at the state and centre. But I don’t remember any protest meet, let alone a march, against the media mughals in my 30 plus years in the profession.
Many watchdogs of democracy bark at the perceived or real intruders, often expecting pats from its masters. But unlike the real canines they never bark at or bite the abusive and cruel masters. They are better at drowning their grief in the drinks after sundown while networking for change of masters. But the problem is that the masters are far and fewer now while our tribe has a baby boom. 
Pedigrees are rare and most of us are mongrels hardly having any taker. Mongrels are doomed if we follow the assorted asslickers who are relishing lairs of shit for good life, usually licking political and corporate masters by turn. My collar is rusted and my bones are weary. Hope someday some young canines will take up the barking and if needed, biting too.
---
Source: https://www.facebook.com/mguruswamy/posts/10208898978540634?pnref=story

Comments

TRENDING

Communal rhetoric? Hindutva preached by RSS-BJP is 'monolithic', not Hinduism

By Prem Verma*  I am a devout Hindu but not a believer of RSS Hindutva form of Hinduism which brings about hatred of other religions. My Hindu religion has not taught me to look down on other religions and neither has it instilled in me to go about converting others to my religion because my religion is superior.

Gross 'injustice' to children: Rs 5000 cr cut in education budget; 15 lakh schools shut down

Counterview Desk  More than 100 dignitaries, including educationists, academia, social activists, teachers’ union, civil society organisations (CSOs), various networks and people working on child rights, in a letter to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman have sought reversal of reduction in allocation for education in the Union Budget 2021-22, even as demanding substantial increase in it.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

India sees 62 journo deaths, 4th highest, amidst pandemic: Swiss media rights body

By Our Representative The Switzerland-based media rights body Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) has noted that India is the fourth most affected country as far as mediapersons’ death on account of Covid-19 is concerned. According to Blaise Lempen, secretary-general of PEC, the global tally of casualties among media persons in the Covid-19 pandemic has reached 1,036 journalists in 73 countries till date.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

RSS love for 'killer' Myanmar junta behind Indian military presence at Tatmadaw Day?

By Shamsul Islam*  If a shameful act means an action which is criminal and nauseating, it would be an understatement to describe the attitude of the present RSS-BJP rulers of India towards the demolition of democracy and large-scale killing of the people of Myanmar by the military ( tatmadaw ) junta which took power through a coup on February 1, 2021 after renegading the election results in which the party of Aung San Suu Kyi, National League for Democracy, was a clear winner.

Chhattisgarh’s Apra riverfront imitates Sabarmati: 'Devaluing' water, environment

Sabarmati riverfront By Mansee Bal Bhargava*  This year’s #WorldWaterDay (March 22) focus was on ‘Valuing Water’. My school friend, Pragati Tiwari from Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh, called that day knowing my interest in water matters. We were remembering our childhood days as how we used to play on the banks and the bed of the Arpa Nadi (River) during the summer holidays and as how the river would swell like Anaconda to flow happily during the monsoon.

Bihar massacre on Holi day: Brahminical, casteist mindset behind 'uneasy' silence

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Several people were killed in Bihar amidst Holi festivities, but not much response has come in from the media. The silence of the government and the society as a whole is also appalling. We seek to romanticise these festivals, yet we forget that every year they take so many lives. This despite the fact that Holi appears to be the best time for 'avenging things'.

India's draft migrants policy: Whither concern on job restrictions imposed by states?

By Anil Kumar*  India’s Niti Aayog has prepared a Draft Migration Policy. The draft policy acknowledges migration as an integral part of development, and it calls for positive government interventions that facilitate internal migration. With a rights-based solution to migration, the draft states that the policy should “enhance the agency and capability of the community and thereby remove aspects that come in the way of an individual’s own natural ability to thrive”.

Gujarat religious freedom amendment bill 'pursues' votebank politics, is anti-minority

Gujarat home minister Pradeepsinh Jadeja  By Our Representative  A Gujarat-based minority rights organisation, taking strong exception to the state assembly last week passing the Gujarat Religious Freedom (Amendment) Bill, 2021, has asserted that the proposed law “is completely unconstitutional”, even as asking the Gujarat governor to give his accent to it.