In a major development in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls, an English news channel, Harvest TV, had been launched with senior Congress leader, Kapil Sibal as one of its promoters. The channel is owned by Veecon Media which already had licenses for several other media outlets. However, this media outlet saw the comeback of several high-profile journalists, including Barkha Dutt, Karan Thapar and Punya Prasun Bajpai. It was launched on the Republic Day this year and was seen by many as the next big thing in Indian journalism. Later, Harvest TV was renamed as Tiranga TV, after the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) allowed Sibal’s channel to use the new name and logo without the colours, saffron and green.
However, the channel has reportedly fallen into a crisis a little more than a month after the Lok Sabha poll results. As per a portal, there have been several rounds of lay-off at the news channel. It added that several journalists had left decent jobs before joining Tiranga TV but now they have been left in a spot of bother after being fired with extra salary for only one month. According to the portal, there have been three rounds of lay-off at the news channel. It has also reported that the retrenched journalists are demanding that they should be paid at least three months extra salary given the market conditions. The portal has also criticised the dictatorial methods of the management at the portal.
The ousted employees of Tiranga TV have also cried foul on the social media portal, Twitter. One of the employees tweeted, “@KapilSibal Ji, We the employees of @NewsHtn (Tiranga TV) are being fired with just 1 month salary and without any clarity. We would want to meet with you as no one from management has addressed us. @INCIndia @RahulGandhi @PrakashJavdekar @IndEditorsGuild @ShekharGupta @BJP4India”
Another tweeter user posted an identical tweet voicing his grievances against such awkward dismissals at the news channel. In fact, there is also a twitter handle, which seems like a handle representing the ousted employees. It goes by the profile name, “Fired Employees Tiranga TV”. One of the tweets by the handle reads, “Kapil sibal gave assurance channel would run for two years so we all came. Now they arent even ready to pay industry norm of three months despite his earning crores. @KapilSibal @newslaundry @OpIndia_com @INCIndia @BJP4India.” However, till now there has been no report about anyone from the management or the promoters speaking about the issue. Those who have been fired have reportedly been kept in dark and there has been no public clarification as such.