Saturday, January 09, 2010

PTI Diary by Neeraj Bhushan (001)

(Neeraj Bhushan is writing ‘PTI Diary’ these days, taking up the role of a whistleblower attempting to expose a corrupt system eating up India’s premier English News Agency – Press Trust of India, commonly known as PTI.

Postings in the online diary are done every Sunday evening, when Neeraj turns into a wonderful storyteller, and his stories are real, based on his personal experiences and first hand accounts)

Here are some excerpts from his jottings:

“Joining PTI at its head office in New Delhi on August 1, 1997 was a good break, despite a meager stipend. We were a lot of 40 odd journalists inducted into the news agency after a difficult written test and screwing interviews.

To begin with, we were quite out-placed. There were no chairs for the new recruits. We were put under strenuous postures while discovering the new job relationship. We were to report to different news departments for next six months. It was difficult, as there were no Department Heads. Things were just running. People were just working, routinely and mechanically.

During on-the-job training, I found a very disturbing trend. People were quitting in large numbers. I was shaky. Further, I found the office atmosphere choking. There wasn’t clean air around. Safe drinking water was another problem. But, no one in the office premises would dare talk, confidently. Someone may be always listening. Every conversation was being overheard.

There was no one I could discuss my problems with. I had no clue about my service conditions. I wanted to know my company’s rules and regulations so that I could follow them in true letter and spirit.

However, there was neither the HR Department nor a Legal Cell. My Regional Manager, whom I had reported while joining, would see me with contempt. Once, when I raised an important issue related to my leave, she was rude. “Why don’t you leave PTI?” was her terse unprovoked statement. I would have normally been shocked by the such treatment but since by then it had become transparently clear that there was a caucus in the company which promoted only its YES MEN and would not listen to anybody else, her behavior did not come as a surprise. Sadly, this caucus comprised of persons from both the management and employees and had the covert support of a section of journalist and non-journalist staff which would act as the eyes and ears of ‘the management’. Other than them, every single officer or any journalist was a mere nominal person.

The lecture session by the Editor-in-Chief finally brought about my collapse when, in a class of his own, he had ensured presence of all those occupying ‘top’ journalistic positions. They were noticeably made to sit there only to be bullied by him. To me, it appeared they had already been conditioned for the situation. The Editor-in-Chief wanted to make it very clear to us that he was the only boss of the company. Many amongst us had no doubt about that, with their journalistic fire and self-esteem having been wiped and flushed down. They stood brainwashed.”

Neeraj Bhushan

Please go to to read Neeraj’s Diary in detail.

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