TV Continental, a 24-hour television news channel owned by Continental Broadcasting Service Nigeria Ltd., based in Lagos is alledged to run an operational policy that recruits interns of various academic qualifications, and make them do low level jobs without pay or stipends.
The TV station promoted itself as the “first Pan-African news agency” with plans to open offices in Johannesburg, Nairobi, Accra and Dakar The channel airs on British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc (BSKYb) in the UK, Naspers Ltd. (NPN)’s DStv and Startimes in Nigeria, and Multi TV in Ghana.
Interns in the TV station, have called out the managers claiming that their engagement negates the original plan to provide them with opportunity to acquire professional skills in the field of broadcasting and other studio experience.
Internship is seen as an opportunity offered by an employer to potential employees or students in training to work at a firm for a fixed, limited period of time. Interns are usually undergraduates or students, and most internship last for any length of time between one week and 12 months.
According to reports by newstelegraphonline, it revealed that the interns were subjected to an inhuman work atmosphere, and work activities such as cleaning, stewardship, janitorial duties, or even office assistants with a work time of 6.30am to 6 00pm without any form of compensation or salary.
Speaking with New Telegraph, some interns, who are attached to the television’s newly launched breakfast show, revealed that the management of the organisation, which is said to be headed by a Caucasian, deliberately refused to engage blue-collar employees but rather used them for such role.
One of the interns, who just obtained her Post-Graduate Diploma in Mass Communication, was a victim of this slavish engagement. As part of the requirements for her post-graduate programme, she was unfortunate to have secured a space to work as an intern with the television house under a contract, which is meant to last for four months.
She had barely spent three weeks when she turned in her resignation, as she could no longer bear the inhumanity that was meted out to her and her colleagues.
She said, “We got into the organisation with the aim of learning the art of broadcasting, we ended up as janitors. We were made to resume work at 6:30am and we were expected to close by 6pm every work day. “They made us to clean dishes, mop floors, serve tea and even clean the toilets.
Efforts to protest were met with all forms of intimidation, such as threat to fire us, or summoning us to various disciplinary panels, where we were talked down on like slaves. We never got to learn anything about the job for which we were engaged.”
Another intern on a different TV programme with the same organisation, Miss Aminat Busari, a graduate of Lagos State University, and also an alumnus of the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, also narrated her ordeal.
She said: “Interns are treated with disdain by the staff and management of that station. We are not allowed near any of the production activities, except on occasions where we are expected to run errands for them or clean up their mess.
It is a place where you are made to lose your self-esteem and confidence. Students should be advised to look elsewhere for their internship, rather than coming here to be used for odd jobs.”
A mid-level official of the media house, who spoke to a correspondent of newstelegraph, on condition of anonymity, said, “The management refuses to provide cleaners or office assistants to do those menial jobs.
You don’t expect a staff like me to get to the office in the morning and start to dust my desk or make my tea. Those are jobs meant for low level staff and the people available to do that here are the interns.