Tuesday, June 6, 2017

CBI raids on Prannoy Roy: suppression of dissent within media organisations

Government is not the only suppressor of voices of dissent. A lot of suppression of dissent also takes place within media organisations.

I'd say that to people discussing the CBI raids on NDTV founder Prannoy Roy's homes, in general, and NDTV executive editor and anchor Nidhi Razdan in particular.

In a discussion on DD News over Monday's CBI raids on NDTV founder Prannoy Roy's homes, elderly journalist Urmilesh talked about journalists being booted out of media organisations for fighting for wage board (which recommends salary hikes of media personnel).

Urmilesh seemed to suggest that while there is lot that's wrong with the media scene in India, the government has chosen to focus only on the wrongdoing of NDTV's Prannoy Roy.

Urmilesh's point reminded me of Press Trust of India (PTI) where I worked from 2000 to 2005.

At PTI we used to get salaries and salary hikes according to wage boards and the top-most demand of the employees union would be for a new wage board to be set up.

Urmilesh's point also reminded me of how M.K. Razdan, then editor-in-chief and CEO of PTI -- who is also the father of NDTV executive editor and anchor Nidhi Razdan -- engineered a division in the PTI employees union causing prolonged workers' unrest, even violence, and leading to sacking of several employees. The division in the PTI employees union -- which was effected by handing favours to the workers who sided with Razdan -- weakened the collective bargaining power of the workers as well as the voices of dissent and turned PTI into an even more authoritarian organisation than what it already was. As for his own career, Razdan had such a relationship with the governing board that he got many extensions to his tenure as editor-in-chief and CEO of PTI, which added up to about 15 years over his age of retirement. All service norms were twisted to favour Razdan who drew top-bracket salaries and perks for over two decades during his stewardship of PTI. His salary was reported to be Rs 25 lakh per month early this year when he was reported to have finally retired.

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