News & Notes 910:A report on the Auroville Outreach Media change of management
Auroville Outreach Media had been provided with the space by Auroville Foundation at Archives Building built with Government of India grants. During the year 2018, the Foundation had purchased equipment such as Camcorder, Scanner, Computers, Printers, External Hard Drives, Furniture etc. for a total value of Rs. 10,22,939.00 from the funds received from Government of India. The items were handed over to the Outreach Media team for their outreach work. The assets accounts of the equipment are being maintained by the Auroville Foundation.
Since the beginning of the Crown development work in Auroville this past year, Outreach Media team began to use the outreach contacts and resources of its service to promote its personal and distorted views on the development work against the Auroville Foundation. They have also misused media/social media, where they have established a large network through their work over the years, by publishing misinformation and propaganda. All this has been done through publishing blatantly false or negative information to the world with an aim to accuse the Auroville Foundation Secretary and Governing Board. Considering that the Auroville Outreach Media had been functioning as the “voice of Auroville” for decades, this action has done a lot of potential damage to Auroville’s image.
Following this, the Auroville Foundation asked the Outreach Media to stop all public relations work and formed an Information and Public Relation Team / Group as desired by the Governing Board to cater to the official Information and Public Relation needs of Auroville Foundation under Government of India.
In the above circumstances, the Under Secretary, Auroville Foundation sent an email to Ms. Fabienne on 20.01.2022 requesting Ms. Fabienne to hand over all the movable, immovable, tangible and intangible assets including space, contacts of media persons, phone number, email, Soft IP, archives, accounts maintained with Financial Services etc. maintained by the Auroville Outreach Media office to the Auroville Foundation, on or before 22.01.2022, as the same was required for continued information and public relations activities of Foundation.
Ms. Fabienne in her email response dated 21.01.2022 had objected to it and questioned the authority of the Auroville Foundation. In another mail sent on the same day (21.01.2022), she had made it clear that as Executive of Outreach Media she would not comply with the request made by the Foundation, since FAMC of the Resident Assembly is the authority. This understanding is incorrect since the FAMC is a body of the Governing Board, and all units, services, assets, tangible or intangible are under the direct purview and undertaking of the Auroville Foundation.
The subject of handing over all the assets of the Outreach Media to the Foundation was discussed in FAMC of the Governing Board on 03.02.2022, and the necessity for handing over of all the assets was reiterated by the Internal Auditor and the Under Secretary.
Sufficient time and reasonable opportunity had been given to Ms. Fabienne for vacating the premises of Outreach Media and handing over the premises keys and assets there in. Since this had not been complied with till 07.02.2022, on 08.02.2022 around 11.30 am, a team of officials from the Foundation headed by the Under Secretary along with the Information and Public Relations team of Auroville Foundation went to the Outreach Media to request her personally for a hand-over. On seeing this team approaching, Ms. Fabienne behaved in a highly strange manner by locking the door from the inside and preventing the officials from entering the premises.
The Under Secretary repeatedly requested Ms. Fabienne to vacate the premises by quoting the necessity of the premises for use by the Information and Public Relation Team of Foundation and to maintain harmony. This was not heeded by Ms. Fabienne and all of a sudden she came out from a side door, locked the office from the outside, and left the premises.
As there was no prospect of a smooth handing over all the assets of the Outreach Media including the premises occupied by Ms. Fabienne, due to noncompliance and her arrogant behavior, the Foundation was not left with any other option other than fixing another padlock above the present one. So, on 08.02.2022 at 7.00 pm officials of the Foundation reached the Outreach Media and affixed a notice for Ms Fabienne. The following day, 09.02.2022, all the locks to the office were changed by the Auroville Foundation and through an executive order the Information and Public Relations team of Joel Van Lierde and Sindhuja Jagadeesh replaced Fabienne Marechal as Outreach Media executives along with Dev Mohanty and Chandresh Patel as advisors to the team. As no hand over has been done by the previous team, an audit of the Auroville Outreach Media assets and finances is currently ongoing.
Executive of Outreach Media