Shocking letter from a terminated Telegraph journalist, exposing media owners & journalist leaders

A heart-rending letter from a journalist laid off by The Telegraph
A heart-rending letter from a journalist laid off by The Telegraph
From Tuesday evening onwards a long letter from one Biswajit Roy, a journalist, victim of the massive retrenchment in ‘The Telegraph’ news paper of ABP group has been making the rounds in WhatsApp.  His more than 1000-words open letter exposes the sheer autocratic mindset of Indian “oligarch” media owners and journalist leaders, who preach Freedom of Expression and values of morality in public life.

This letter exposes the duplicity of media owners who brag as custodians of Freedom of Expression and involve in all kind of frauds including money laundering and siphoning money for building personal empires.

As no media house will publish the terminated staffer’s gut-wrenching letter, we have decided to publish the full letter for public understanding to expose the unethical activities in the media world, which talks big on morality. The Telegraph news paper belongs to Ananda Bazar Patrika (ABP) Group and is owned by Aveek Sarkar and his younger brother Arup Sarkar.

This letter shows the duplicity of media owners who brag as custodians of Freedom of Expression and involve in dubious deals for building personal empires. “Perhaps it’s easy to defy Trump, Modi or Mamta than taking on the behemoths inside media empires that goaded us to bask under the vainglory of independent journalism only under their strict control,” writes Roy, on how he was kicked out all of a sudden in the evening by Telegraph.

Here is Biswajit Roy’s letter exposing the Indian media owners and journalist union leaders:

Finally I resigned from The Telegraph, albeit under duress like 700 odd fired journalists and non-journalists in the ABP Group. Twenty journalists including 17 district correspondents in TT Bengal reporting have lost their jobs in this round.

The ABP management did not allow me to write my resignation letter but got me signed on a one line format that had no mention of the company’s current culling of its workforce. Instead, it pretended that I left out of my free will. Neither had I received a written assurance on the details of the ‘special package’ and statutory dues when I had to sign another format about payments. One of editorial bosses countersigned the latter as I asked for a promissory note from the management. My HR handler told that the company would not commit formally to an individual (even if the job contract was between the company and me as individual) but no reason was offered. I had to insist for the photocopies of the two papers. The pressure on me to put in my resignation at the earliest was aimed at accomplishing the management’s mission by this month.

Although I would be released on March 1, my access to the office computer system was deactivated even before I tendered my resignation. It was meant to make me feel completely unwanted.

Also I was asked to surrender my entry swipe card. The arm-twisting tactics was evident as I was told that the processing of my dues would not begin unless I comply with. I became an outsider effectively on the very day. Now I would have to call or meet HR/accounts or editorial nodal men and meet them at the reception, if they want, to get my dues cleared. So I am at the mercy of the management to receive the fruits of its benevolence after serving the house for20 plus years.

I am told to trust the company which did not think twice before humiliating and firing 700 odd men and women in the name of financial crisis but never bother to explain or discuss with the staffs on ways to overcome it. It did not bother to offer us an honorable exit or an amicable separation except a unilateral but informal assurance of a soothing package. Instead, a piece of paper handed over to the victims revealed the Orwellian absurdity of the world of ABP’s HR mandarins. It offered us help from career counselors, psychiatrists and tax consultants except an audience with the top guns or some exchange of parting messages, not even the corporate niceties like the exit interviews.

Like Kafka’s Castle, we never reached the sanctum sanctorum of the media empire unless the presiding demigods wanted us to do so. Their high priests who are now manning the castle watchtowers are trying their best to behave like compassionate killers. But they may not know when and how the axe will fall on them. Those in the newsroom carried the defiant note by Columbia Journalism Review in the wake of America becoming the Trumpland or mocked Modi and Mamta for their megalomania, hardly showed the same courage of conviction when they were asked to change tunes from time and time as it suited the super bosses. If professionalism is the convenient euphemism for their meek submission, I expected them to protect the lambs they had shepherded so far, if not the perpetual prodigals like me. But sadly, that did not happen. Perhaps it’s easy to defy Trump, Modi or Mamta than taking on the behemoths inside media empires that goaded us to bask under the vainglory of independent journalism only under their strict control.

The all pervasive fear and deafening silence down the line is more alarming. I could not bid adieu digitally to my younger colleagues in the reporting since my access to internal system was locked. I thought of taking leave of everybody in person. But the silence and indifference was chilling as none met my eyes. It was the girl at the reception who said: ‘good bye sir’. There was some personal touch. And, I felt like crying. For the humiliation heaped on me at the fag end of my career, for the loneliness I suffered for my defiance, above all, for the shame of my inability to fight back.

The cowardice of my community leaders before the media owners is even more depressing. Despite the concerted attacks on journalists and non-journalists livelihoods across the country by the media barons they are keeping mum. “What can we do!” a Kolkata Press club office-bearer who himself has suffered termination just before his retirement told me when I asked him to call a meeting covering all the affected houses. If his reply was typical of a man who had resigned to his fate and wanted to reap the benefits out of losses at the end of his career, the deafening silence of community elders and bodies in Kolkata and elsewhere will surely invite further onslaughts on young men and women in the profession in a short time. If the latter is behaving like proverbial ostriches at the time of sandstorm, it the older jackasses with rubber spines are to be blamed more.

Kolkata Press club has managed to hold protest meetings and marches against ruling party or police attacks on journalists at different times despite the opposition and sabotage by the cronies of the rulers of the day, both at the state and centre. But I don’t remember any protest meet, let alone a march, against the media Mughals in my 30 plus years in the profession.

Many watchdogs of democracy bark at the perceived or real intruders, often expecting pats from its masters. But unlike the real canines they never bark at or bite the abusive and cruel masters. They are better at drowning their grief in the drinks after sundown while networking for change of masters. But the problem is that the masters are far and fewer now while our tribe has a baby boom. Pedigrees are rare and most of us are mongrels hardly having any taker. Mongrels are doomed if we follow the assorted asslickers who are relishing lairs of shit for good life, usually licking political and corporate masters by turn. My collar is rusted and my bones are weary. Hope someday some young canines will take up the barking and if needed, biting too.

BISWAJIT ROY

Team PGurus

We are a team of focused individuals with expertise in at least one of the following fields viz. Journalism, Technology, Economics, Politics, Sports & Business. We are factual, accurate and unbiased.

21 COMMENTS

  1. Telegraph never ever reached the heights of The Statesman even in its best time. Always offered soft porno in most pages and readers drooled over that without hesitation and writers sacriced the sanctity of the pen at the altar of profit and proud circulation. It was all predestined.

  2. These things happens everyday everywhere. Nothing new. We are becoming more & more animal’s like . Non sensitive. Inhuman.

  3. It is the competent person, journalist, technician, marketing or finance, who dares cavil, write, protest.

    There have been bloodbaths in media groups earlier, and by and large, a similar silence. Right from the time regular employment was converted into higher paid contracts. Cant say we were not warned.

    But as Anikendra Sen said elsewhere, the absoluteness of the silence is new. There used to be murmurs before, ad in an era long gone, even protests.

    I stand with Mr Roy, and the hundreds of other colleagues. There is little more that I can do.
    John Dayal
    New Delhi

  4. I am shocked to see some of the comments above. I never knew that some people could be so much insensitive as to argue that such things are “normal”. Clearly, if Mr Roy is to be believed. the media house in question did not have the guts to openly say that they were sacking him, and instead forced him to write a resignation letter. It also appears that they did not allow him to bid a proper good-bye to his colleagues. What is more bizarre (if the version given by Mr Roy is true), they also started to behave with Mr Roy as though he were an outsider, despite the fact that he served them for many years.

    Perhaps all these things are “normal” in corporate sector. I do not belong to the corporate sector and hence I am in no position to say anything about that. But I feel that these things are not “normal” as per the accepted principles of civil society. This may be one of the reasons why a person no less than Satyajit Ray critiqued the corporate sector in several of his films.

  5. Having worked in three newspapers in the last seven years, I have seen journalists while away their time, doing crappy stories and getting away with shabby editing. I have also seen people without relevant language skills heading the desk. They simply survive by sucking up to their bosses.

    No offence, Mr Roy. Truly competent journalists don’t waste time bitching about the company and writing open letters. They would rather use that time to hunt for a job, or would have already been placed in one if they are truly skilled.

    That aside, I would like to take this opportunity to say that I’m glad Print is dying. In the online medium, you cannot get away with editorial bullshit. Your competence is measured by the number of who clicked on your story, and I am not referring to clickbaits here. The metrics actually show you how many seconds or minutes people spent reading your story.

    I’m glad it finally dawned on the editorial bosses that they are wasting money on some so-called journalists, who merely have the press badge stuck to them.

    • No offence to you too, Miss/Mrs Carol. If print is dying, and you are glad that it is, then beware that “online ” being free of “editorial bullshit” is just a phrase(?) which has been coined by you (maybe?) to support your own views. There is nothing which is truly “unbiased “. As long as humans sit at the driving seat of the technology car, bias will stay . “Online ” is nothing but technology.
      Your words, sorry, sound very arrogant to me. You flaunt your “skills” without mentioning them directly, and you take a dig at an elderly journalist, and you sweeten it with a “No offence, Mr. Roy”! That’s what I call offence. You won’t care, I am sure. And neither do I .
      Let the years pass. You will grow older. You are, in fact, aging with every nanosecond . One day you will realise that all the while you have been on a trip. You are living on borrowed time, Caroline. All of us are. Mr. Roy is.
      Caroline, as long as you live, learn to respect elders.
      Prosenjit Thakur

  6. Surprisingly No Protest was voiced in this city Kolkata before common men against the onslaught on news persons from the Big House of ABP GRoup when on 13/2/17 last more than 150 journalists and non-journalists employees of several newspapers and news agency had held hour long spirited demonstration before Hindusthan Times office in Mumbai. And they raised slogans against the Silent Emergency declared in Media all over India. They formed Joint Action Committee for Implementation of Majithia Wage Board Award for News paper men. But what’s up in Kolkata?

  7. There is nothing new in it… Its the norm in the IT sector in India. In my 18+ years of IT career i was shown the door for at least 20 times. Sometimes this happened with a month time. Do you know the reason they gave? Sometimes poor performance and sometimes poor communication skills. No compensation no severance package… And this happened in India where there are many IT professionals with poor skills… Do you know my fault? I wanted to learn and contribute in a positive manner without much fuss and without becoming a megalomaniac. And always remember its very easy to criticize the subordinates while under the umbrella of a big corporation. The real test begins when you come out of that shade and fight the bad weather on your own.. I have seen many corporate workers who after coming out of the cocoon of that organization could not do anything on their own. as far as my case is concerned i am now not dependent on a job. i have created my own setup for earning my livelihood and supporting my family… If you have the guts do something on your own… now the real perform or perish will play an important role in your life… sorry for the harsh reality…

  8. Nothing new indeed, only the vastness and the massiveness of the incident is something happens less often. Otherwise, its business as usual, even I have been tactfully ask to leave this same organization just after I got confimed in seven days time frame, which I could not digest then. The irony is, the person in charge asked me to leave faced the same fate in few years time from my exit. So its all fair in business as long they have the huge popularity in the begali speaking readers/ viewers in the market. If something can be done to teach them a lesson , then bring down the popularity they enjoy in form of monopoly then have in this market.They have always wronglygully ousted many other media house in this so called small or huge market. Till then let them enjoy thier control over everything that they have untill they get the taste of failure, defeat or loss they force on others.

  9. It was expected. Corruption in Media House is not new. Mr. Roy had no complained when he was enjoying the fruits of corruption and is now realizing that the media house and press club is corrupt, when he has lost his job. Journalists are known to ask for favours, cash, gifts etc. to write positively about anything. Some years back, one journalist from the same media house demanded an all expenses paid family trip to Thailand from the company I was working in then; to give a positive write-up about a product that had just been launched. Journalists are known to broker deals and take money to get jobs done; and nobody can dare to touch them. Mr. Roy, I sympathize your job loss; but as they say “What goes around, comes around”.

  10. what is the point of your story? This is how most mass lay-offs look like. May be you are seeing this for the first time that’s why it looks so horrible. If you are in a position where you can potentially cause damage to the organization your accesses are revoked on day one. I am from the banking industry and this is pretty much what is accepted as standard, painful but nothing personal. In case you feel your separation is not handled properly or suspect hostility or problem in settlement, you can always consult a wrongful termination lawyer.

  11. It is really shocking, but not astonishing. I’have my own experience which is not less bitter than Biswajit’s. In the corporate world we can’t expect any good/human relationship. We are all victims of ‘use n throw’ culture. Go ahead, my friend. BestRabi

  12. Every news paper published to day and every TV news channel are only interested in lining their pockets. Only God above whose puppets we are can save our motherland. Bharat Mata ki jai.

  13. Sacked journalists will get no sympathy from the masses.they lost their backbone long time back and have now turned cry babies.We always knew MSM owners are a bunch of crooks taking money from their political masters doing their bidding.Journalists who have first hand account of their crookedness shouldn’t cry now that their crooked masters turned on them too.Go to your old monk and drown your sorrows, you sorry lot.

  14. This is something that had happened many years ago in manufacturing industry, where ppl join as trainees and retire in the same company. I remember the fateful day in Crompton Greaves, when ppl were sacked with two min notice and security guard escorting them to gate. Ambulance were kept ready for any untoward happening. Three months pay was all that was given as compensation.

    Employees no more have the same attachment now. This is a great loss to the corporate world.

  15. Journalists like Biswajit Roy are witness of the gradual fall of respectable media houses into prestitution. They can help cleanse media by exposing the rot in those media houses. I wish organisations likd pgurus take initiative in cleaning media business with help of people like Mr Biswajit Roy. This would truely a win-win solution for all, including the Indian society.

  16. These Media liars deserve this humiliation and treatment who sold their pen for secular votes, for licking muslim arse and insulting hindus, this is well justified ..

  17. What is there to complain about from Biswajit Roy? This happens in ALL corporate world. When you are unwanted, you will be swiftly taken care of!

    Whatever he describes is happening to TONS of IT Professionals every day!
    Did Mr. “Roy” do a “story” on this aspect in his entire “forty” years of “journalism”?
    I doubt!!

    I simply know that it won’t be done. Issue is much larger!!!!

    We as Indian society re completely anglised, colonised and typical powerful people in ANY industry are behaving same way!

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