New Delhi: In a sudden, unprovoked and illegal move the management of IBN7 the Hindi News Channel owned by Network 18 has terminated the services of Associate Editor, Pankaj Srivastava on 21 January, 2015. The termination notice was abruptly served to Pankaj by Deputy General Manager, HR, Mayank Bhatnagar at 10 PM last night. The notice mentions that “services are hereby terminated with immediate effect”.
According to Srivastava, this termination was allegedly followed after a text message by Pankaj to Deputy Managing Editor Sumit Awasthi. The message stated —“ Aiysa lagata hai ki hum AAP ko harwaney mein jute hain yeh theek nahi hai, logo ka kehna hai ki Satish Uppdhyay ke bhai Umesh hamarey editor hain isliye aisa hai..ye patrakaron ke usoolon ke khilaaf hai, Pankaj Srivastava” (It seems that we have joined campaign to defeat AAP, this is unfair. Many people believe that this is happening because Umesh our Editor is brother of Satish Upadhyay. This goes against journalistic principles, Pankaj Srivastava). This mobile text message was sent by Pankaj at 8:48 from his official mobile number.
Srivastava claims, that the channel was biased against AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal and was only focusing on highlighting BJP’s chief ministerial candidate Kiran Bedi.
According to a press release uploaded by him, he states that, “He has on number of occasions approached editors and tried to persuade that the practice of complete black out of Aam Admi Party is unethical and goes against established norms of journalistic propriety. Majority of journalists working with IBN 7 and CNN-IBN are not comfortable with internal censorship on many issues – particularly relating to Aam Admi Party and its convenor Arvind Kejriwal who is also Chief Ministerial candidate of the party. These issues were raised number of times during editorial meetings.”
A series of programmes like “Kiran Ka Karsihma” to highlight the BJP’s CM Candidate are being telecast in the channel are debated and criticised internally.
Srivastava is all set take the issue a step ahead. He is taking legal advice and within due course of time, he will challenge “his unfair and uncalled termination in the court of law.”
Pankaj Srivastava his began his journalistic career in 1997 with with Amar Ujala in Kanpur. After a brief stint with Samay channel, he joined IBN7 on March 10, 2008.
His sacking reflects the insight of electronic media which has been under-fire from many quarters particularly non-BJP groupings for bias and one-sided coverage.
Senior journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta has aptly described predicament of journalists in present time as he says, “It is not easy to be a journalist in India because you realise that it is not often easy to offer alternative narratives to challenge the orthodoxy and to raise questions”.