The Press Club of Bombay has reacted to the “termination” of services of Forbes India editor Indrajit Gupta, and the “resignation” of his colleagues Charles Assisi, Shishir Prasad and Dinesh Krishnan by the magazine’s India franchisee, Network 18.
The following is the full text of the resolution passed by office-bearers of the Club on Saturday.
“On Monday, May 27 and Tuesday May 28, four of the senior-most editors of Forbes India – editor Indrajit Gupta, Managing editor Charles Assisi, director photography Dinesh Krishnan and executive editor Shishir Prasad – were summarily dismissed from service either by unilateral termination or through resignations extracted by bullying and threats.
“We understand the immediate dispute was over payment of ESOPs that had matured and were due to them, but the HR and business teams thought otherwise.
“The method of ejecting them from the company was nothing short of shameful. (emphasis added)
“Journalists are not only messengers of news and information, but are the collective voice of civil society. They have a special place in our democratic polity, especially in the current times of stress and confusion. Surely, this team of editors which has served Forbes India since 2008 deserved better.
“We don’t rule out changes in business plan the Forbes India management may have wanted to make; but there is the way of discourse and negotiation.
“Editors with 15-25 years of experience cannot be forced out with a gun on their head.
“The episode has shocked journalists throughout the country and shown the Network18 Group in bad light.
“We will be writing to [Reliance Industries chief] Mukesh Ambani, who has a special position of influence in the media group, as well as to the Network18 Group’s MD Raghav Bahl, to appeal to them to reverse this decision and to enter into discussion with the editors so that an amicable solution is found.”
Also read: How the Forbes India editors were forced out