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Journalism rights group blasts ‘brutal’ job cull at Indian TV station Focus NE

Focus NEJournalism lobby groups have hit out at an Indian TV station that abruptly made more than 40 staff redundant as part of a cost-cutting exercise.

The Indian Journalists Union together with the International Federation of Journalists, called jobs cuts made by Focus NE, a 24-hour satellite channel TV station based in North East India, “arbitrary” and said the company was breaching Indian labour laws.

The redundancies prompted a protest by staff and media rights groups outside the company’s headquarters in Ulubari, Guwahati on Monday of this week.

SN Sinha, president of IJU, said in a statement: “We are shocked to learn that the services of a large number of employees, including newspersons, camera-persons and other employees, have been terminated by the management of Focus NE TV for one ostensible reason.”

“While strongly protesting against such termination of the services of employees who have rendered years of dedicated service to the organisation, we call upon the TV channel to immediately reinstate these employees without precipitating the matters any further,” he said.

An IFJ spokesperson added: “The IFJ condemns such a sudden and brutal cost-cutting reaction that will affect more than 40 media workers and their respective families. Focus NE has an obligation to comply with laws and we demand it fulfils those duties enshrined in labor laws immediately.”

Focus NE, which recently changed its name from NE TV, has not responded to Mumbrella’s request for comment.

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