Barely seven months after the Rajasthan Patrika group launched its English news website Catchnews.com, the management has asked its Editor-in-Chief Shoma Chaudhury to step down with immediate effect.
At least two sources and an email from Shoma to her team have confirmed that Shoma was asked not to turn up for work on February 29.
“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,” she wrote in an email to her staff on Monday morning.
“To say that I am stunned by this arbitrary behaviour would be an understatement,” she wrote, adding that, “To be abruptly divorced from it like this seems real injustice, to say the least.”
She said she would be addressing the team at 4PM on Monday. “I know this will come as a shock to all of you. As it has been for me. I wish it was otherwise,” she said in her email to the staff.
Catch News was launched in mid-2015 under the leadership of Shoma Chaudhury and founder and former editor of Mail Today Bharat Bhushan. In December 2015, they launched a Hindi website as well.
Shoma had earlier quit Tehelka magazine after it's editor Tarun Tejpal was accused of raping a colleague.
Here is the full text of the email
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 pm today.
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.