Guwahati: At a time when journalists have emerged as frontline warriors against Covid-19, many cases of disrespect and insensitivity towards them has emerged. In a recent incident, a television news channel in Guwahati came under fire after it was alleged that the channel had forced one of its female employees to resign on the account of her being pregnant.Also Read - 3 Indian Photojournalists Who Captured Life in Kashmir During Lockdown Win Pulitzer Prize 2020 | See Pics
Reporter Ranjita Rabha, with about 14 years of experience, said that she was forced to quit as the management said that pregnancy could ‘restrict her abilities’ and that the organisation needed only ”agile persons” as reporters.
Her request to be sanctioned unpaid leave till childbirth was reportedly turned down by the management, claiming that the company has no maternity leave or benefit policy.
Condemning the ‘insensitive attitude’, The National Commission for Women (NCW) said it was “deeply perturbed” by the violation of provisions of the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 and sought an explanation from the channel
“Of all the rights of women, one is of motherhood. However, a recent incident from Assam exposes the double-standards of organisations towards its pregnant employees,” the NCW statement said.
Earlier, the Indian Journalists Union (IJU) had said that the channel management sacking Rabha was unacceptable and it was a “clear case of gender discrimination.”
Meanwhile, many other journalist organisation have also demanded that Ranjita be reinstated in her job and all maternity benefits be extended to her as per the law.
Notably, The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017, provides for paid maternity leave for women for 12 weeks, in addition to paid leave and extension of leave without pay or work from home facilities.