SRINAGAR: The Kashmir Press Club is concerned over the grim situation emerging due to the Covid-19 pandemic as the lockdown has seen job losses to journalists, non-payment or delays in salaries besides effecting overall financial health of the media industry in Kashmir Valley.
Noting that the pandemic has catapulted the entire media industry into a difficult position, it has been brought to the notice of the club through its members that there are instances of job losses, non-payment of due salaries to the working journalists and other media workers by the media organisations in the valley, which in these times is a matter of grave concern and calls for a greater understanding.
KPC feels the lockdown announced by the government to combat the spread of COVID-19 should not be used as an excuse for retrenchment and non payment of salaries.
The current situation demands that the media organisations follow advisories issued by the Ministry of Labour & Employment, Government of India and also the appeals by the Prime Minister of India to not terminate the services or stop paying the wages of their employees.
Before going for layoffs, media organisations should keep in mind the hardships that would be faced in finding a new job by the working journalists and other media workers at this time. Instead the approach should be to ensure and consider basic sustenance of employees.
At the same time while also realising the financial stress the newspaper industry is going through during the ongoing crisis, the Kashmir Press Club urges the government to extend a helping hand to the media industry in Kashmir during these difficult times.
The club further urges the government not to resort to arbitrary advertisement cuts to local newspapers as has been brought to our notice. The Club also notes that the lockdown has greatly reduced the advertisement revenue which was generated by the newspapers from the private sector and in this scenario government pulling its hand would further increase the difficulties of the local newspapers & can make it difficult for them to sustain. The impact on the financial health of newspapers has a cascading effect on the livelihood of scores of scribes working with these organisations.
At the same time the Kashmir Press Club urges the media owners and editors in Kashmir that in the long run they should seriously introduce employee welfare mechanisms like medical/accidental insurance covers, provident funds and also implement proper contract systems so that in difficult times the journalists can deal with such exigencies.
Kashmir Press Club
Dated: May 17, 2020