New Delhi: Amid massive lay-offs and salary cuts across the print media citing losses due to the pandemic, reports of a similar move by the charitable Sameeksha Trust, which runs the prestigious academic journal, The Economic and Political Weekly or EPW, has created quite a stir among academic and journalistic circles.
Upset with the move, around 100 ‘EPW Community’ members, including some former employees, have written to the Sameeksha Trust, expressing dismay at the move to cut staff salaries by 25-40% and lay-off the entire digital team.
Urging the Trust not to take “steps that could eventually lead to the destruction of a very valuable and world-renowned institution that has been built up over more than half a century,” the appeal, while admitting financial constraints, has criticised the Trust for non-transparency over the matter.
“EPW has stood out as a media institution not just for its independent views but for how the institution has been run. An open, participative and non-hierarchical structure – to the extent possible – has been a feature of EPW for decades. Yet, this time we learn that neither the trustees of Sameeksha Trust nor the Editor (who has traditionally have been in charge of the institution) nor the senior management (finance) of EPW cared to share the information and analysis of the finances with the staff, nor sought their views and suggestions for dealing with the current situation, nor sat down and explained the situation before taking the drastic decisions that they have,” says the appeal.
Calling for “broader consultations to rescue and revive EPW,” the community expressed fear that “a collapse of EPW now, in these troubled times, will suggest an extinguishing of hope.”
Among the signatories are former senior employees, such as C Rammanohar Reddy, Aniket Alam, Bernard D’Mello, Kalpana Sharma among others.
The board of trustees of the Sameeksha Trust include eminent academics, such as Deepak Nayyar, Romila Thapar, Andre Beteille, Shyam Menon, Sudipto Mundle, Dipankar Gupta, among others.