Yesterday, Barkha Dutt brought the dreadful situation of Kapil Sibal funded Tiranga TV’s journalists to light. The Congress leader had launched the channel ahead of the Lok Sabha elections and had boasted some big names like Barkha Dutt and Karan Thapar. However, now it seems the channel has fallen off its chart and Sibal has had to do massive layoffs. The channel has not only lain off the employees without any valid reason but has also refused to provide them a compensatory salary to help guide over the tumultuous time. Surprising of all events is the sheer silence of the media fraternity.
As per reports, there have been three rounds of lay-off at the news channel. The reports 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. It has also been reported that the retrenched journalists are demanding that they should be paid at least three months extra salary given the market conditions. There have also been issues of dictatorial methods of the management at the portal.
When the news of the mass lay off of employees at the Tiranga TV first came to light, many people on social media questioned Barkha Dutt for her silence on the issue. At that time, Barkha Dutt had tersely replied that she was not involved in the management of the company. However, yesterday Barkha Dutt broke her silence and took on Kapil Sibal and his wife for the mass layoffs in a long twitter thread. Not only did she call onto Kapil Sibal and his wife’s poor management and irregular layoffs, but she also stated that journalists have been insulted and abused at their hands. She also stated that how a lot of the senior staff is owed salary of over a year and how she was threatened to withdraw her emails.
An appalling situation in @NewsHtn promoted by @KapilSibal & his wife, where more than 200 employees have had equipment confiscated and face sackings without even a 6 month pay out. Man who acts holier than though in public has treated journalists in a hideous way
— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) July 15, 2019
According to Barkha Dutt, the journalists had been hired on the assurance of a “professionally run newsroom and a minimum tenure of two years”, for which they left their lucrative jobs.
To make matters worse, Kapil Sibal sent over bouncers to intimidate those journalists who were peacefully protesting for their rights. Barkha Dutt called out to this and urged the Editors Guild to intervene.
Bouncers at @NewsHtn office sent in by @KapilSibal and wife tweet protesting colleagues who are on an all night sit in dharna demanding a six month pay out. Need I say more. This needs the urgent intervention of @IndEditorsGuild @PrakashJavdekar https://t.co/I7cvNKP8in
— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) July 15, 2019
However, the Editors Guild seems to have more pressing matters and doesn’t consider this a priority. The Editors Guild, along with the rest of the media fraternity not directly involved in the matter have turned a deaf ear to the Tiranga TV journalists’ woes. The media fraternity is usually quite vocal when it comes to protecting the interests of the journalists, triggered at the smallest of instances. Recently, the Entertainment Journalists Guild had come together to ban any coverage on Kangana Ranaut, in a show of support to journalist Justin Rao. Before that, the media had again come together to protest against the arrest of journalist Prashant Kanojia, wherein the protest was aimed against the current UP government. But till now, not a single statement has been issued by the Editors Guild.
This time around, the matters are extremely dire. The livelihood of over 200 journalists is being affected because of the summary dismissals. Many had left their lucrative jobs to be part of Tiranga TV, on Kabil Sibal’s promise and this instance is not only a huge set back in their professional growth, but also is an urgent financial worry. Not only that, they are being harassed and threatened, and the media doesn’t seem to have even acknowledged the incident. The otherwise vocal media is strangely quiet when it comes to protecting the interests of their own, against Kapil Sibal’s channel. It is the job of the media to call onto irregularities and unfair instances and this gross injustice, against a group of their own, ought to have irked some reaction from the fraternity.