Kapil Sibal’s Tiranga TV faces closure in less than six months of launch
MUMBAI: Kapil Sibal-promoted Tiranga TV is on the verge of shutting down within six months of launch. Senior journalist Barkha Dutt, who hosts a prime-time show for the channel, has accused the promoters of sacking as many as 200 people without a proper severance package.
It is pertinent to note that the channel has been disconnected by several distribution platforms since it is not available from the broadcaster. It’s just a matter of time before the channel is fully withdrawn by its promoters.
Tiranga TV went on-air on 26th January as HTN News. The channel’s owner Veecon Media and Broadcasting have been battling it out with the ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) over the use of the name and logo Tiranga TV.
The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) recently allowed the broadcaster to use the name and logo Tiranga TV without the green and orange colour.
In a series of tweets, Dutt launched a tirade against Sibal for putting the livelihood of 200 people in jeopardy. She said that the equipment of the employees have been seized and they are being sacked without proper compensation.
“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 payout. Man who acts holier than though in public has treated journalists in a hideous way,” Dutt said.
She noted that people had left other jobs to join the channel on the assurance that the channel will function for atleast two years. “Most people here, gave up other offers or left jobs on an assurance from @KapilSibal of a professionally run newsroom and a minimum tenure of 2 years. Neither husband nor wife have even showed up to talk to staff. But all live programming has been cancelled for 48 hrs,” she continued.
In another tweet, she noted that the revenue model of running a news channel is broken. “A broken revenue model in TV news is one problem and secondly, where are these high net-worth individuals who are prepared to take a bet on talent. In so many ways news industry model is broken.”
She also noted the fact running a news channel is capital intensive, therefore, crowdfunding will not work. “We do not operate in an industry where journalists can choose their promoters. It’s not a plethora of options, is there, especially in TV, which unlike digital, is high capital intensive and cannot be run by crowdfunding.”
Dutt also alleged that the Kapil Sibal’s and his wife wanted to use Prime Minister Narendra Modi as an excuse to sack the staff. She also stated that the union government has done nothing. She further stated that the Sibals have gone on a holiday to London even as the employees are in dire strait.
When someone tweeted about her decision to place her faith in Kapil Sibal, she noted that this was not the issue. “It’s not about faith in a person, we don’t vouch for our promoters at the places where we work. We are reporters.”