Corporate veil helps Tiranga TV sack mediapersons
Despite the social media outrage, Tiranga TV is going ahead with the lay-offs of media persons. Multiple reports indicate that the number could be as high as 200. In the last few weeks, it has shut down six bureaus, fired senior journalists and other mediapersons. The crisis began shortly after 2019 Lok Sabha elections in which Kapil Sibal lost the elections to the Lok Sabha seat he had contested from in New Delhi.
Tiranga TV was launched in January 2019 as a TV news channel. It went from being Harvest TV (a cultural TV channel) to a news channel first christened as HTN and later as Tiranga TV. The TDSAT had declined the news channels proposal to use the tricolour and the I&B ministry rejected the channels pitch to use the Indian flags tricolour. Read more details on this here.
The channel propped itself by re-using TV news personalities, Karan Thapar and Barkha Dutt. It was said that Kapil Sibal had funded the TV channel. However, a news report in The Print quotes the channels president, Vijay Choudhary as saying, “Tiranga TV belongs to Veecon. The channel will never shut.”
“As part of the restructuring, some employees might have been parted ways with Analog but no contract has been violated. The employees must take legal recourse if the terms of the contract have not been honoured,” Choudhary told The Print.
Choudhary says that Veecon owns Tiranga TV and they have a content and revenue sharing agreement with Analog Media. Sibals wife Promila, the meat entrepreneur, is a director in Analog Media, which has fired the employees, while Veecon holds the television license. In effect, Choudhary has claimed that content generation has been outsourced to Promila Sibals company and has washed its hands off sacking of the mediapersons.
The focus on the conflict was sharpened by social media posts by journalist Barkha Dutt, who had joined the TV news channel as a consulting editor.