When prominent journalist Barkha Dutt decided to quit NDTV, it was speculated that the decision was taken by the former to focus on her new online venture The Mojo. However, in a Facebook post on Wednesday, Dutt went public, accusing the media establishment for ‘censoring’ her stories that eventually led to her bitter exit.
Barkha’s revelations, however, came after NDTV Managing Editor Sreenivasan Jain, in a similar Facebook post, accused the company for pulling down one of his stories on Jay Shah’s firm.
On Tuesday, he revealed how for “legal reasons”, his and his colleague’s story on loans given to Jay Shah’s company was taken down from NDTV’s website, which he termed as an aberration.
Calling it “unfortunate”, he wrote that the report was based on facts and did not make any kind of statement or assumptions.
My statement on Jay Shah loan story being taken down: https://t.co/SGgDlwqF17— Sreenivasan Jain (@SreenivasanJain) October 17, 2017
His disappointment, however, more or less opened up a can of worms when Dutt, in a series of tweets, revealed how she along with another former journalist Nitin Gokhale also fell victim to censorship during their tenure.
yes,axing stories at NDTV not new. And I don’t recall said ex colleagues standing up for freedom of press & reporting when some of fought it https://t.co/Dmx1gZSfXO— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) October 17, 2017
Breaking his silence on the matter, Nitin Gokhale also tweeted that he had to quit within less than a month owing to censorship.
In a detailed Facebook post on Wednesday, Gokhale revealed how one of his interviews with then Admiral D K Joshi was dropped after it was found to be “defamatory”.
“All the high sounding principles of supporting and protecting everyone’s freedom of expression, went out of the window the moment one of the own NDTV insiders was attacked,” he wrote.
He also went on to accuse NDTV of nepotism and favoritism that is designed to protect the children of the wealthy.
Hours later, Barkha Dutt too decided to spill the beans in another Facebook post by accusing NDTV of “fake liberalism”.
“I was disallowed from pursuing a story on what was called the Jayanti Tax controversy. I was given hell for a story I did on Robert Vadra. Then an innocuous bread and butter interview I did with Chidambaram was taken off air during the aftermath of the surgical strikes. Over the next two months, for the stand I took, I was clearly punished with a hostile newsroom environment that sought to push me out of any big news story that the top bosses were anchoring. It was later told to me that my protest was seen as a “betrayal” and that I argued too much about the news,” she wrote. (The post has been edited)
Though Dutt and Gokhale have questioned Jain’s decision to continue working with NDTV, the latter has refrained from commenting. In fact, he also provided justification for why he chose not to comment on the whole issue.
Had decided to not respond to noise around my statement – abuse, support, whatever. Journalists tell stories. They are not the story.— Sreenivasan Jain (@SreenivasanJain) October 18, 2017
But seeing how some are using this to pile on to NDTV, remember – can’t think of too many org’n’s that allow public dissent from within.— Sreenivasan Jain (@SreenivasanJain) October 18, 2017
Is every media house perfect? No. But how many, despite aberrations, allow challenge to power? Lets not lose sight of that. – fin-— Sreenivasan Jain (@SreenivasanJain) October 18, 2017