Srinagar, Sep 24: Shahid Ahmad (name change) was pursuing journalism passionately for the last over four years. After completing masters in journalism, he joined a local daily in the valley.
But little did he know that one day he would receive a communiqué from the editor that his services are no more required. He is now contemplating other career options due to uncertainty in Kashmir.
“Despite restrictions, we would work. But I along with a few more colleagues have been told that our services are no more required because of the crisis situation or we have to bear 40 percent salary cuts,” Shahid told news agency Kashmir Indepth News Service (KINS).
“The government has to think about ourselves. Journalists in Kashmir are in deep stress. The newspaper owners say that they are prompted to fire the staff because of the situation since August last year. Everyday there is talk about layoffs and salary cuts,” he added.
Kashmir has nearly 180 English and Urdu daily newspapers.
Among six largest circulated newspapers, most have either layoff staff or reduced their salaries.
“We have been told to work with some organization as a free-lancer or find a job somewhere else,” a reporter working with a local daily said. He said there has been a 20 to 40 percent salary cut to the staff.
“Now the situation has arisen that we may be terminated or won’t get the salaries,” he added.
Some organizations have told the staff to work without salaries.
The present crisis has also prompted local newspapers to reduce their pages.
Meanwhile an owner of a newspaper who wished not to be named said, “There has been a drastic decline in revenue. Government has also cut the advertisements. We hardly get any business advertisements as businessmen suffered heavy losses for the last one year. We are compelled to reduce salaries to the staff,” the editor said.