ETV suspends journalists
Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Bdnews24.com

Private TV station ETV has suspended or terminated 14 journalists on charges of observing work stoppage and neglect of duty.

The journalists denied the charges.

"The (suspended) journalists have been asked to explain their breach of discipline and neglect of duty. The action was taken on clear charges against them," the channel's managing director Ashraful Alam said in a statement Tuesday.

A senior official of Ekushey Television on condition of anonymity told bdnews24.com that the journalists, including the head of news, were handed letters and asked not to come to the office until an order of reinstatement was issued.

Refusal by chief news editor Ahmed Zubayer to air a news story was at the heart of the incident.

A notice was served on Zubayer on Sunday after he refused to broadcast the story filed by Gulshan Swapna, a reporter.

Several journalists alleged that the story had actually been dictated by the chairman of the company, Abdus Salam.

Salam refused to comment, when approached by bdnews24.com.

When other journalists came to know about the incident Monday, they observed a four-hour work stoppage from midday.

Monday's 5 pm news bullet was not aired.

The suspended journalists are preparing to hold a press conference, one of the reporters said.

A senior ETV reporter, asking not to be named, said the notice was also served on head of news Shah Alamgir, chief reporter Shakil Ahmed, news presenter Majumder Jewel, business reporters Nazneen Munni and Rahnuma Sharmin, and diplomatic correspondent Jhumur Bari.

Reporters Farhana Rahman and Biswajit Das are also facing the suspension order.

Senior reporter Farzana Rupa was terminated.

Shakil termed the incident of suspension sad and told bdnews24.com: "An organisation usually has different types of people. Such a decision at the instigation of some people is harmful to any organisation."

He said: "We started work with Ekushey Television with much hope. We reached this place through much sacrifice. So we hope the authorities will withdraw their decision."

During the work stoppage at 5.30pm Monday, the chairman of the company, Abdus Salam, went to the office and allegedly asked the journalists to leave the newsroom in an hour.

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