The Indian Newspaper Society (INS) has branded the recommendations of the Majithia wage board as an attempt to muzzle the freedom of the press. But why does its heart beat for media freedom when competing newspapers enter no-poaching agreements which curtails the freedom of journalists?
That is the question that Yogesh Pawar asks. Pawar, a former Indian Express reporter who did a stint with NDTV before joining DNA recently, has been both a wage board employee and a contract comployee. He says both systems have their pluses and minuses.
But he uses tacit no-poaching agreement between papers (essentially to keep wages down) to drive home INS’ hypocrisy in ranting against the Majithia wage board in the name of media freedom.
“When there were only two broadsheets in town (The Times of India and The Indian Express in Bombay), they had a deal disallowing movement between themselves.
“What this did to morale and salaries can only be guessed as the drive to do well and get noticed simply stopped mattering. While some moved to television briefly as a bridge arrangement before coming back to their jobs of choice, others moved to Delhi where there were more options. The ones who couldn’t simply languished.
“Apart from your annual appraisals from within, when offers are made from other firms, it means the other organisation recognises your value. When media organisations changed to contract regimes, it was said that media-persons confident of their work need not be afraid.
“Doesn’t this work the other way round too with anti-poaching deals?”
Read the full article: What is sauce for the goose
Also read: Should papers implement Majithia wage board?
External reading: Why not wage board for all journos and non-journos in media?