Kapil Sibal had started a TV channel sometime back, basically to target BJP and Narendra Modi. Well, it was started with some kind of arrangement with an evangelical TV channel in South called – what else – “Harvest TV”.
The name change was also a major issue since the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had disallowed Veecon Media and Broadcasting Private Ltd to use “Tiranga” (since no national symbols can be appropriated by private businesses). In any case, Telecom Disputes Settlements and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) over-ruled the Government and allowed Sibal owned Veecon that name.
The channel had some major Modi-bashing journalists in its midst – Barkha Dutt, Karan Thapar etc. And many ex-NDTV employee were brought in with the promise that the channel will run at least for 2 years.
Well, last week, it was pulled off the DTH network. And over 200 employee have been laid off WITHOUT any salary!
Since then these employees have been pleading and going from door to door looking for help.
But there has been no help whatsoever.
On top of that, Kapil Sibal and his wife have not just abused those employees – called the female staffers “Kutiya” – but also compared them to the labor in meat factory who were thrown out without pay!
Now, Barkha Dutt has come out in the open to call the whole thing out.
Some of the points from what Barkha Dutt has expressed in her tweets:
- While Sibal earns crores, he is not paying the staffers the norm of 6 months salary or even at least the 3 months salary.
- Kapil Sibal and his wife wanted to blame Modi and his government saying that they did not let the channel run. But Dutt clarifies that GOI has done nothing for the failure of the channel. Sibals have been holidaying in London, refused to meet the staff while shutting shop!
- Kapil Sibal and wife have refered to female staffers as kutiya (bitch) and Dutt wants the National Commission for Women to take this matter up.
- Barkha Dutt has referred to Kapil Sibal as Vijay Mallya and he has in turn threatened her with legal recourse. She plans to fight that.
- Journalists were hired with 2 year guarantee and then laid off without explanation or payment of dues. He didn’t even meet them!
- This while he is earning in crores and holidaying in London
- Senior staff like her are owed a lot of money for last year, but it is the 200 employees whose lives have been hit badly. Barkha Dutt is planning a legal battle.
There is an important learning here for many.
Baiting and bashing is not “Journalism”
Karma catches up. For decades and probably ever since she started, Barkha Dutt and many like her have pioneered a certain way of doing news. From the time she went to Kargil and compromised many positions and India’s security itself to the time of many other security attacks including the actions in 26/11 and even Uri; there has been a blatant selfishness in her ways. A disregard for others. A “use-and-throw” kind of attitude towards others. To a point that many did consider her – and other journalists in similar way – a national threat.
Plus who can forget her role in Radia tapes scandal? She played king-maker roles from behind the scenes. With the advent of Modi era, she and many others were relegated into back-offices and had no power. But that did not stop her from writing Opeds in foreign newspapers bashing the Modi government. Many a times without any evidence.
And, if she is honest, she will admit that this is what took her to Harvest / Tiranga TV. NDTV was going down and she had no real place to do her bashing anymore. Congress paid and sponsored TV channel was her best bet.
Does one see the whole irony of the situation?
By doing the ultimate betrayal to the idea of journalism, she allowed herself to be purchased by a political operator of a party whose ideology she had been peddling for decades. A party on behalf of which, she was picking up cudgels to demolish its opposition. And, as the fortunes of that party and that clique diminishes, she is in a corner where she is left with no other choice – but to fight against the very group and clique she batted for!
And, no one gives a damn.
Meanwhile Kapil Sibal has sent bouncers to deal with the employees who are in an all night sit in Dharna!
In the meantime, another journalist dreams of high net worth people crowd-sourcing the Barkha Dutt and friends. What he means is dirty money to fund her machinations – except that it is anonymous. Is that interesting or what?