‘Hideous’: Barkha Dutt Slams Kapil Sibal Over Tiranga TV Layoffs

Senior journalist Barkha Dutt took to Twitter on Monday, 15 July, to slam the “appalling” state of affairs at HTN Tiranga TV – a channel which she had been associated with – saying that more than 200 employees are facing sackings there without a six-month payout, and blamed Congress leader Kapil Sibal for treating journalists in a “hideous way”.

After Dutt’s tweets, Sibal has now invited the department heads of Tiranga TV to discuss the way forward and resolve the issue of pending salaries of 200 employees, reported IANS.

Dutt accused Sibal – who backs the channel – of "duping and cheating" journalists, and not having "the decency to even meet them".

Dutt also claimed that Sibal’s wife made “disparaging” and “sickening” remarks against journalists, as she demanded a payout for the employees that is in compliance with the industry norm.

"“For fighting for rights of staff, I have been threatened with defamation and ordered to ‘withdraw my emails’ comparing Kapil Sibal to Mallya. I have refused. I support the staff of HTN Tiranga TV and will help them fight this legally, with a criminal case and complain (sic).”" - Barkha Dutt’s tweet

The journalist also claimed that Sibal and his wife have used abusive language when referring to female staffers.

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Layoffs and Protests

Fired employees also staged a protest outside Sibal’s residence.
Fired employees also staged a protest outside Sibal’s residence.

According to a Newslaundry report published on 12 July 2019, over two dozen employees, coming from different departments, had been laid off at Tiranga TV in two rounds – the first one taking place in mid-June, followed by the second in early July.

The employees have protested against how the situation unfolded, where they allege they were not properly informed in advance. On Wednesday, 3 July, they had gathered outside the channel's office and also staged a silent protest outside the Press Club of India in Delhi.

HTN, originally known as Harvest TV Network, went live on 26 January this year. Later, the name was changed to HTN Tiranga TV.

(With inputs from IANS and Newslaundry.)

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