Considering the salary cuts implemented blaming the Corona crisis, India’s media owners are the most uncouth while preaching morality through their media houses. Indian Express was the first to come out with salary cuts from 10 to 30% on April 1. The newspaper now controlled by Viveck Goenka even misquoted the paper’s founder Ramnath Goenka’s words to justify the salary cuts. Though many Journalist Unions rushed to Supreme Court against the salary cut and retrenchments by the media owners blaming Coronavirus and the Court on April 27 has sent a notice to Central Government to respond by May third week.
Times of India Group controlled by Samir Jain and Vineet Jain were heartless in cutting salaries, blaming it on the Corona crisis. According to staffers, the Group is having a profit of more than Rs.1200 crores from their newspaper, television, internet business, and other business and implemented the cuts to maintain the profits. Many journalists and staffers say that as the next step, the Jains are planning to retrench many staffers to save the expenses on the garb of the COVID-19 crisis. The same is the situation in Shobhana Bhartia controlled Hindustan Times Group which implemented 10 to 25% salary cuts in the early week of April.
Cunning Sarkar brothers
Aveek Sarkar and Arup Sarkar have taken this to a whole new level. The Sarkars-controlled Telegraph newspaper and ABP Group. Fearing possible legal issues, they implemented a 30% salary cut to all employees and asked them to submit a letter to the management that they are surrendering 30% salary “voluntarily”. Employees accuse Sarkar brothers of doing ultimate fraud to save from cases and those employees who did not submit surrendering letters will be terminated.
Many Journalists have told PGurus that all owners were uncouth when it comes to salary cuts in the garb of Corona crisis and planning to retrench staffers later to protect their profits and reduce the expenses. Pioneer newspaper owned by Chandan Mitra also implemented a 30% salary cut on all employees like the Telegraph newspaper and ABP Group, while many media houses implemented salary cuts only on those earning above Rs.50,000 monthly. Another ethics-preaching newspaper The Hindu, currently controlled by moral preacher and labour loving Leftist N Ram also implemented 6 to 25% salary cuts.
PGurus has published a series of articles on the uncouth ways of media owners when it comes to money matters. Quint website owner Raghav Bahl, who is also accused of money laundering, tax evasion and stock exchange manipulations has already packed off more than 50 staffers in early April by salary-less forced leave. NDTV’s Prannoy Roy, like his buddy Raghav Bahl (both face similar charges by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED)) has implemented 15-40 percent salary cuts. Even Mukesh Ambani controlled CNN-News 18 network also implemented 25% salary cut blaming Coronavirus. The similar is the state of affairs in regional language media houses too, be it Hindi, Tamil, Marathi, Malayalam, Gujarat, Kannada etc. According to journalists, the regional newspaper and TV channel owners did more harm to the employees by cutting salaries and retrenching during the Corona crisis.
Manoj Sonthalia-controlled New Indian Express also implemented a 30% salary cut on those getting salary of more than Rs.50,000/month. The worst is the debt-ridden Deccan Chronicle Group which also publishes the Asian Age newspaper. Though the Deccan Chronicle Group is taken over by Kolkata based SREI Group, insiders say that the old owners Reddy brothers still control the media business. According to staffers, for the past 7 months salary is not disbursed in this troubled group, and promoter Rama Reddy is not at all responding to them.
Many of these uncouth media owners fraudulently pre-dated their salary-cuts-letter to before the date the Supreme Court issued notice to the Central Government (April 27), seeking response on salary cuts and retrenchments. Sneaky. Though newspaper owners are claiming huge losses, many journalists told PGurus that they are hushing-up the fact that the majority of the expenses are cut down during the Lockdown period. Newspapers are only printing 12 or 14 pages where papers like Times of India and Hindustan Times used to print more than 50 pages. It is a fact that 80 percent of the revenue is cut due to lack of advertisements during the Lockdown period, but the expenses are also cut because of the fewer number of printing copies, they said. Journalists also blame the Central and State Governments for cutting down advertisements sharply, while they work full time to disseminate the COVID-19 pandemic reporting and relief works and hope for a positive reply from Government to Supreme Court on the case filed by their Unions.
 Blaming Corona, Indian Express implements huge salary cuts – Apr 4, 2020, PGurus.com
 After salary cuts, Times of India Group plans massive retrenchment in the garb of Corona crisis – Apr 28, 2020, PGurus.com
 Blaming Corona, ethics preaching The Hindu newspaper group also implements salary cut of 6-25 percent – May 7, 2020, PGurus.com
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