- Saima Mohsin criticises US broadcaster for aggravating her misery.
- Mohsin has won the right to face her former employer at a tribunal.
- CNN terminated her contract when she requested alternative duties.
LONDON: Saima Mohsin, a British-Pakistani presenter and international journalist who was injured on assignment for CNN, severely criticised the US broadcaster for aggravating her misery.
Mohsin’s comments came during an interview with Geo News after she won the right to sue Cable News Network (CNN) for racial discrimination and unfair dismissal in UK Employment Tribunal.
The journalist, now a freelance presenter for Sky News, was injured in Jerusalem in 2014. She had her contract with the broadcaster terminated three years later after she requested alternative duties and support while she was rehabilitating.
Atlanta-based CNN had argued at a preliminary hearing that a UK employment tribunal did not have jurisdiction to hear the case and that the Equality Act 2010 and Employment Rights Act 1996 “did not apply on the grounds of territorial jurisdiction”.
However, the preliminary hearing agreed Mohsin could bring her case, which alleges unfair dismissal, disability discrimination, victimisation, failure to make reasonable adjustments, and unequal pay.
Mohsin said she was injured by a CNN camera operator, leaving her for a time unable to control her foot. Despite extensive physiotherapy, she continues to live with chronic pain and says she is frequently bedridden with pain.
Speaking to Geo News after her win, Mohsin said this is a case which has huge implications for journalists, the media industry, and in particular foreign correspondents.
“I won! I have won my right to have my case against CNN heard here in the UK. CNN had challenged the tribunal’s jurisdiction and tried to deny that I had a right to bring my claims here,” she told Geo News.
“But this decision means I can now finally have my case heard in England. The tribunal has ruled in my favour and found it has jurisdiction to hear my case on: unfair dismissal, disability discrimination, victimisation, failure to make reasonable adjustments, and equal pay.”
“I chose not to use a solicitor and to pursue this case representing myself. It’s been hard work, stressful but so very important. Thankfully I found a brilliant team of barristers to act for me on a direct-access basis.”
“I thank my Barrister Paras Gorasia for his exceptional knowledge, hard work, and his belief in my case. I thank Barrister Jen Robinson for her wise counsel, belief, and support. I also thank Pupil Barrister Finnian Clarke for his hard work on the case behind the scenes. You’ve been the best team I could have hoped for.”
“I was injured in the field, not given adequate support or alternative duties and let go. This is not how journalists risking their lives should be treated by media organisations.”
“CNN didn’t need to exacerbate my pain & suffering by dragging this through court. I have constantly offered reinstatement or mediation & negotiations. I didn’t ask for this battle while learning to deal with an invisible disability and rebuild my life. But it was important I take a stand.”
Mohsin’s claim raises important questions about journalist safety, the treatment of women of colour in journalism, as well as the ability of foreign correspondents to ensure they are provided proper healthcare after being injured on assignment and can continue to work.
The London Tribunal found in Miss Mohsin’s favour, which means her case will now be heard on: unfair dismissal, disability discrimination, victimisation, failure to make reasonable adjustments, and equal pay in relation to claims after March 1, 2017.
CNN terminated her contract in 2017 when she requested alternative duties and support during her rehab. Mohsin had a breakdown and suffered from depression.
She now has to use a walking stick and cannot work full-time. Mohsin has learned to live with an invisible disability and made a record-ratings programme for ITV to raise awareness about the many people in the UK living with invisible disabilities.
Mohsin has spoken out publicly about her pain condition and fundraises for the disability charity Scope.
She is a freelance presenter on Sky News and continues with a daily pain management plan. She was recently named a patron for the Palace for Life Foundation, Crystal Palace Football Club’s charity.