On Monday, it was reported that NDTV had decided to lay off at least 70 of its staff as part of its business restructuring.
Although, NDTV did not confirm the number of staff it had handed pink slips to in its latest cost-cutting efforts, the channel put out a release saying the move was not linked to its public spat with the Centre’s Narendra Modi government.
According to the NDTV statement, downsizing its operations was a routine matter and it was to shift its focus to mobile journalism, also referred to as MoJo by some in media.
This prompted Barkha Dutt, who was associated with NDTV for over two decades, to take to Twitter to register her ‘objection’ on the use of word MoJo, which incidentally happens to be the name of her new media venture.
In a series of tweets, Barkha said, “Ndtv finance woes apart isn’t it wrong to appropriate someone’s brand name & new form of journalism as yours ? Thoughts in this thread. I launched #Mojo @themojo_in shortly after my exit from NDTV , our first few events have happened under this banner- something NDTV aware of. Town halls with Karan Johar, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Facebook page, You Tube channel all done under #Mojo @themojo_in banner. (sic)”
Barkha’s former colleague at NDTV and the presenter of channel’s flagship programme, Left, Right and Centre, Nidhi Razdan, responded to the former’s tweets saying that the term ‘MoJo’ was a widely used term for mobile journalism.
She wrote, “‘MoJo’ widely used term for Mobile Journalism world over for some years, NDTV India launched show called ‘MoJo’ on Dec 19, 2016.”
Her next tweet said, “So the NDTV India show called ‘MoJo’ was launched before Barkha left. They’ve been doing mobile journalism fully since Nov.”
To which, Barkha responded, “If NDTV argues #Mojo generic name then so should be We The People from the Constitution. So NDTV will let me start a show by the same name? Am told NDTV now has show called #Mojo. So guess @themojo_in should run a show called We The People. Or is copyright only for media barons? Rather problematic that unfortunate lay-offs be dressed up under borrowed brand name of company started by an ex-employee. (sic)”
Barkha also denied Nidhi’s claims that NDTV India had started a show called ‘MoJo’ whilst the former was still part of the channel adding that ‘there was no Mobile Journalism in NDTV news rooms while I was there.’
In her subsequent tweet, she clarified that her objection to the use of MoJo was largely due to the fact that big brands such as NDTV will not let others use ‘show names you created.’
Whilst with the NDTV, Barkha had fronted popular and award-winning shows such as We The People and The Buck Stops Here. She left the channel in January this year after 21 years of association.
Under her new company MoJo, she had hosted noted film director Karan Johar as the first guest in April this year.