Journalist Barkha Dutt has launched a tirade against veteran Congress leader Kapil Sibal and his wife for allegedly reneging on their promise of job security to staff members of HTN Tiranga TV channel.
In a series of tweets, Barkha claimed that Kapil Sibal had assured the channel’s staff of job security for at least two years when they became part of the launch team. She wrote, “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 pay out. Man who acts holier than though in public has treated journalists in a hideous way. (sic)”
Her subsequent tweet read, “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..”
Barkha also accused Kapil Sibal’s wife of having shouted in public justifying her decision to sack staff at short notices. She wrote, “Wife, who ran a meat factory, says loudly in the workplace, “I shut down factory withut giving a paisa to labour, who are these journalists to ask for 6 months salary.” Her labour should have been paid better, but her disparaing remarks of journalists is sickening. (sic)”
The veteran journalist wrote, “What is most shameful is that @KapilSibal earns crores every day and wont pay 200 employees the industry norm of 6 months or at least 3 months pay out, ruining the lives of 200 plus people.” Barkha said that she was told that Kapil Sibal and his wife ‘wanted to use Modi as an excuse to sack staff saying Modi didn’t let channel run.’ “But to be absolutely blunt. GOI has done nothing. Husband and wife have not faced staff, went on holiday to london, while shutting shop, prompting me to call him Mallya,” she continued.
The Mallya reference was made by Barkha in an email written to the veteran Congress leader, she added. Barkha added that she had now been threatened with a defamation case because of her decision to liken Sibal to Mallya in an email. She wrote, “For fighting for rights of staff, I have been threatened with defamation and ordered to “withdraw my emails” comparing @KapilSibal to Mallya. I have refused. I support the staff of @NewsHtn and will help them fight this legally, with a criminal case and complain.”
Barkha urged her friends in the media to tweet tagging Sibal on Twitter till he pays employees what is due to them.’
HTN, originally known as Harvest TV Network went live on air on 26 January this year. Later the channel acquired a new identity as HTN Tiranga TV.
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 pay out. Man who acts holier than though in public has treated journalists in a hideous way
— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) July 15, 2019