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Shoma Chaudhury, editor of digital news platform Catch News, has reportedly been asked to quit. Catch News is owned by Rajasthan Patrika, led by Karpoor Chandra Kulish and his grandsons Siddharth and Nihar.
Chaudhury was previously the managing editor of Tehelka magazine and had come under fire in 2013 for her perceived mishandling of a sexual harassment complaint filed by an employee against editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal.
In a letter to the employees in Catch News yesterday, Chaudhury said that she has been asked by the management to quit 'arbitrarily', without a convincing explanation. She said that the development comes as a shock to her, since she had helped create the website and has even shaped its journalistic vision.
She was reportedly summoned to Jaipur to meet the owners on 27 February and asked to not come to work from 29 Fenruary.
Following is the full text of the email she sent to employees of Catch News.
It’s seven months since we started Catch and I’m very proud of the media platform we’ve collectively created. One of the greatest pleasures of this time has been to work with a wonderful, young, high-calibre team like you. A lot has been achieved. Yet, we’re only at the beginning of what I’d hoped would be a very fulfilling journey together.
The adrenalin of creating Catch was to push the boundaries; find ways to marry old values of journalism with new modes of story-telling; break the usual silos. There are so many ideas still waiting to be set into motion; stands to be taken; stories to be done.
However, I’m writing to tell you with great regret, it seems I will no longer be able to lead the team or share that journey with you.
In a completely unexpected development, on 27 February, I was called to Jaipur by the director of finance and told that, since Catch has now been successfully created and stabilized, Patrika no longer wants to keep me on as its editor-in-chief. I was asked to stop coming to work from Monday, 29 February.
To say I am stunned by this arbitrary behavior would be an understatement. Catch was not a functioning institution I walked into: it is something I helped create from scratch. To be abruptly divorced from it like this seems a real injustice, to say the least.
Financially, Catch belongs to Patrika. Terminating a contract is their prerogative. However, I would like to address the team at 4 pmtoday.
Despite the usual ups and downs of proprietor-editor dynamics, I’ve had very cordial dealings with Patrika, Siddharth, Nihar and their families and I appreciate the opportunity they gave me to create something I’m proud of. I am, therefore, doubly saddened and shocked by this.
You’ve been an energizing, inspiring, livewire team to work with. You have incredible potential. I sincerely hope Patrika will back that all the way.
I know this will come as a shock to all of you. As it has been for me. I wish it was otherwise.
Update: An earlier version of this story wrongly identified the grandsons of Rajasthan Patrika founder Karpoor Chandra Kulish as his sons. The error is regretted.
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