Samira Ahmed, who has been the presenter of BBC’s ‘Newswatch’ for about seven years now, has accused BBC of paying her 85 per cent less than her male colleague who presents the show ‘Points of View’.
Apparently, the male presenter had been receiving about Rs 2.72 lakh per episode till 2018, but when his remuneration was reduced to Rs 1.18 lakh per episode last year, he quit. Ahmed, on the other hand, had been receiving only Rs 40,000 per episode ever since she started presenting her show in 2012. In 2015 she did get a hike, which took her remuneration to merely Rs 42,000 per episode, but the amount was again reduced when the BBC entered into employment contracts with the presenters.
Ahmed is being supported by the National Union of Journalists in her fight against unequal pay. She is seeking back pay for her work in line with the Equal Pay Act, 1970. The case is up for hearing in a London employment court.
Considering that her show as well as the one presented by the male colleague in question follow a similar format and are about the same length, Ahmed certainly has a strong case.
However, BBC has been arguing that the difference in pay was due to the fact that Ahmed’s show was part of the news segment whereas the male colleague’s show came under the entertainment section. BBC also maintains that Ahmed’s pay is the same as that of the man who was presenter of the show before her.