At least 20 journalists at the Hindu have written to the chairperson and CEO of the English daily’s parent company seeking clarity over “social media posts and word-of-mouth speculation” about layoffs at the paper’s Mumbai bureau.
On June 20, Newslaundry that at least 29 employees had been shown the door at the newspaper on June 18 — 20 in Mumbai and nine in Karnataka. They included reporters, photographers, designers, and a copy editor.
The layoff directive had come from the Hindu’s head office in Chennai.
News reports about layoffs at the Mumbai bureau have been circulating since June 19, the staffers wrote, adding, “Several of us have also been contacted by other news organisations seeking clarification on the same. But since we have had no official intimation of the same, none of us have commented yet.”
The journalists said they had “doubled-up on efforts” during the coronavirus pandemic, putting themselves and their families at risk.
“All of us have co-dependents in our lives and are the primary breadwinners in our households – with life partners, elderly parents and young children to look after,” they pointed out. This meant job security was of “primary importance” to them, so they have sought “written clarity about the future of the Mumbai edition as well as the positions we all currently hold”, especially because they worked for a paper that “prides itself on reporting labour laws and violations of the same”.
The letter was addressed to 20 individuals, among them LV Navaneeth, CEO of The Hindu Publishing Group; Malini Parthasarathy, the group’s co-chairperson; Suresh Nambath, the daily’s editor; and N Ram, the former editor-in-chief and chairman.
Here's the letter in full:
Mr Ram Narasimhan
Dr Malini Parthasarathy
Ms Nirmala Lakshman
Ms Nalini Krishnan
Mr Murali Narasimhan
Mr Ravi Narasimhan
Mr Venugopal K
Ms Aparna Ravi
Mr Rohit Ramesh
Mr Prithvi Arun
Ms Divya Venugopal
Ms Akhila Iyengar
Ms Malavika Nataraj
Mr Mahalingam Seturaman
Mr Melarkode Ganesan Parameswaran
Mr Vishal Vijay
Ms Lakshmi Srinath
Mr Narayan Lakshman
Other members of The Hindu Publishing Group board
Mr Suresh Nambath, Editor, The Hindu
Mr LV Navaneeth, CEO of The Hindu Publishing Group
This is regarding our (the undersigneds’) collective concern at social media posts and word-of-mouth speculation about The Hindu’s Mumbai edition shutting down and the loss of several jobs at The Hindu in Chennai and other locations as well. Here is one such reference by journalist Krishna Prasad . Another by Newslaundry. And this one on Medium.
Reports such as these have been circulating since the morning of June 19. Several of us have also been contacted by other news organisations seeking clarification on the same. But since, we have had no official intimation of the same, none of us have commented yet.
All the undersigned have doubled-up on efforts to work to the best of our abilities during the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic; often putting ourselves and our families at risk. The Mumbai edition, which launched on November 28, 2015, has built up a strong team across — politics, business, features, cinema, photo and design — with credibility in all the respective industries. All of us have co-dependents in our lives and are the primary breadwinners in our households – with life partners, elderly parents and young children to look after. Not to forget, we are in the midst of a global pandemic and have been frightened by the thought of losing our jobs. On April 14, we received a reassuring note from the HR department appreciating our work during lockdown times. On April 25, came the note from our CEO on salary cuts, effective from the April 2020 salary onwards.
In light of the speculation surrounding layoffs and the closure of the Mumbai edition, we request you for clarity. For all of us, what is of primary importance is our job security. Each one of us undersigned takes great pride in our work and feels that our values are aligned with 140-year-old The Hindu’s sense of integrity and ethics. We seek written clarity about the future of the Mumbai edition as well as the positions we all currently hold.
All of the undersigned wanted to work at The Hindu, as it has been considered the ideal workplace for Indian journalists, in fact – where journalists are well respected and editorial freedoms are a given. The principles on which The Hindu has operated in the past is what should apply to us as a team now. For a news organisation that prides itself on reporting labour laws and violations of the same – in a robust manner – we appeal to you to clarify the situation to us in writing.
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