Protesting the recent sacking of three senior journalists of The Shillong Times, 12 other journalists have resolved not to work until the trio is reinstalled.
In a letter to the media, the 12 journalists have expressed their complete support to the three journalists- EM Jose (News Editor), Nabamita Mitra (Features Editor) and Dipankar Roy (Executive Editor)- who were sacked by the management citing “COVID-19 generated reasons”.
The three journalists were sacked on September 1 when they were in quarantine, however, the termination letters were served only on September 7 with no prior intimation.
“We condemn the management’s decision, which we feel is unethical and unjust, and as colleagues, we strongly object to such unwarranted ill-treatment meted out to the three senior members of the staff who have all along put in their best efforts in the interest of the newspaper,” the letter said.
“Following the termination of their services, we started a protest from September 9 and on the same day a letter was sent to the management demanding their reinstatement,” it added.
“On our part, we have resolved not to work until the matter is settled,” the 12 journalists further stated.
“We would also like to clarify that none of the agitating staff, who are protesting against the illegal termination of services of the three senior journalists, have RESIGNED as is being spread in some quarters with seemingly malicious motive,” they said.
“In fact, we have sent letters to the management but till now there is no response from their side,” they added.
“On the other hand, though, we have reasons to believe that the management is trying to hire staff at a time when the company is said to be in the dire financial state because of COVID-19 related reasons which have forced it to resort to hefty pay cuts for the past four months,” they further said.
“We want to make it very clear that the protest is against the termination of services of our three extremely dedicated and sincere colleagues and we have no intention to harm the reputation of the organisation which is in its 75th year,” they added.
“Our demand is to reinstate our colleagues at the earliest,” they further said in their statement to the media.
“We are compelled to release this statement since we haven’t heard from the management even after three days of submitting the letter,” they said.
“We will continue with our protest till our demand is met but resignation is not on our mind and it will never be,” they added.
“We categorically reiterate that dialogue and not resignation is the agenda. We want our voices to be heard,” they said.
“The injustice meted out to our colleagues needs to be rectified and undone,” the statement added.