Parmanand Pandey

It is really painful to see the monumental ignorance of some journalists, who have been orchestrating that the IT raids on the offices and residences of the owners of DB Corps are attacks on the ‘freedom of speech and expression’. It is an open secret that most of the big media houses in India are corrupt to the core and they are the past masters of exploitation of their employees. There is hardly any exception; be it the BennetColeman and Company, HT Media Ltd., Indian Express Newspapers Group, the Hindu, Eenadu, Anand Bazar Patrika, Dainik Jagran, Amar Ujala, Dainik Bhaskar, Deccan Chronicle, Matribhumi, Deccan Herald, Rajasthan Patrika or any other group. Albeit two medium newspapers; The Tribune of Chandigarh and The Assam Tribune of Guwahati can certainly be considered to be exceptions. Dainik Bhaskar is one of the worst exploiters and it has ruined the lives of hundreds of employees, most of them happen to be journalists. I do not say on the basis of any hearsay but on personally experienced facts. When the Majithia Wage Board recommendations were notified, there was a provision of 20 J, which said that those employees, who were getting more wages than what was prescribed in the Wage Board, could enter into an agreement with their management that they would not claim for the WageBoard wages. A time limit was prescribed for that individual agreement.
Lo and behold, when all employees began asking for the Wage Board wages, they were called by the managers to sign the management prepared agreements from the backdate. The language of all agreements was identical. Employees were asked to give in writing that they would not ask for the wages according to the Wage Board, although these employees were getting much less than the wage board recommendations. All the government officials knew about the forgery of the agreements, but they were hugely bribed by the managements that they preferred to keep mum. This has happened in the majority of newspapers, but the owners of language newspapers (what they say Vernacular newspapers) have been the biggest culprits. They have been bending and slaughtering the rules and laws with gay
abandon. The meaning of freedom of speech and expression has been converted into a big joke. Their semi-literate editors vie with each other in proving their loyalty to their masters and contriving the ways and means of exploitation of employees for their benefit. Dainik Bhaskar, Dainik Jagran, Amar Ujala and Rajasthan Patrika are the known offenders. They are the blots on journalism. They have not thought even for a moment about the employees while victimizing them.
Many of the journalists working in Dainik Bhaskar were transferred from Delhi to far off and remote places of Bihar, Bengal or Tamilnadu, where people have not even heard the name of the newspaper. The journalists working for the print medium were/are shown to be the employees of the digital platform, where the Wage Board is not applicable. Nobody can tell what has been the contribution of Dainik Bhaskar Dainik Jagran in the development of healthy journalism? These newspapers have been encouraging the journalists to become pimps/ blackmailers/ advertisement collectors. They have brought down the image and credibility of journalism in the eyes of the public because of their unscrupulous conduct. These newspapers have built huge empires mainly because of the blackmailing, browbeating and nefarious connections with politicians and bureaucrats. There is another question whether these media houses owners should be left to openly violate the law? No action should be taken against them even if they are evading taxes? Can they be allowed to slay the labour laws to the detriment of poor employees? Can they grab the advertisements at exorbitant rates and fleece the public exchequer? It does not mean that the governments’ officials are lily-white. Accepted that they are equally or more corrupt, but it does not provide any immunity to these media houses.
Therefore, no tears should be shed for these media houses, which have been using their organs for their enrichment and aggrandisement behind the veneer of the freedom of speech and expression. Such Media houses should be shamed and not sympathised.


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