New Delhi, April 16: A public interest petition was filed on Thursday in the Supreme Court saying that certain media organisations have issued termination notices, imposed wage cuts and unpaid leave to their employees during the COVID-19 pandemic and this amounted to an “inhuman and illegal treatment”.
A joint petition has been filed by National Alliance of Journalists, the Delhi Union of Journalists and the Brihanmumbai Union of Journalists, The Hindu reported.
The journalists’ bodies have asked the apex court to “direct or order persons publishing newspapers or engaged with media work including digital media and employing journalists and non-journalists for this purpose to treat all termination of service notices issued, resignation from services received from employees pursuant to a request from the employers whether oral or in writing, all wage reductions, all directions to go on leave without pay, taking place after the announcement of the lockdown as suspended with immediate effect until further orders”.
“Several newspapers, magazines, online media outlets and other employers in the media sector have reportedly taken steps after the announcement of the nationwide lockdown in March 2020 to retrench workers and employees, impose wage cuts, etc, in spite of advisories issued by the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India and even appeals by the Prime Minister to not terminate the services or reduce the wages of their employees,” the petition said.
It said these measures are “an affront to the rights of journalists and also impede their ability to perform their duties and provide independent journalism as a pillar of democracy”.