Two Republic TV Journalists Publicly Resign, One of Them Faces Backlash

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Tejinder Singh Sodhi, bureau head of Republic TV at Jammu. It was the “hitman’s job” that journalists in the channel are expected to do, said Sodhi. — Twitter photo

In an open letter, Sodhi claimed that it was the “hitman’s job” that journalists in the channel are expected to do

Mohd Aasif | Clarion India

NEW DELHI – Two Republic TV journalists have resigned but not before making their reasons public on social media.

Tejinder Singh Sodhi, bureau head of Republic TV at Jammu, and Shantasree Sarkar, also a journalist at the channel, left the organisation on ethical grounds.

The news about the development at the much-talked-about channel spread like wildfire with a section of the media lapping it up.

In an open letter, Sodhi claimed that it was the “hitman’s job” that journalists in the channel are expected to do. “Many times, I refused to do this. This is what was termed as “chase sequence”. There is an agenda and you have to follow it. Abuse me for speaking truth as those who continue to do this are holy cows”, his letter reads.

https://www.facebook.com/tejinderofficial

On his Facebook wall, he wrote, “We teach our children to stand against injustice, but we always find fault in people who actually end up doing that. While taking up one of the most powerful people in the industry, I have put my career and my life at stake, but I feel happy and satisfied that I could muster the courage to do what I wanted to do long ago.”

In her tweet, Sarkar, said, “I am finally putting out on social media. I have quit #RepublicTV for ethical reasons. I am still under notice period but I just can’t resist today to throw light upon the aggressive agenda being run by #RepublicTV to vilify #RheaChakraborty. High time I speak out!”

Shantasree Sarkar, journalist at the Republic TV resigned. I am still under notice period but I just can’t resist today to throw light upon the aggressive agenda being run by #RepublicTV to vilify #RheaChakraborty. High time I speak out!”, said Sarkar.

It’s a matter of courage to take such steps, yet, the occasion seems to be a bit odd as there have been a lot of incidents since December 2019 which could have been the right occasions for such a move.

For example, the channel’s coverage of countrywide protest against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act received a backlash from the media. Again, during a march to Parliament from Jamia, a gunshot was fired at Jamia students. But Republic TV reported it in the diagonally opposite way–that it was ‘fake’.

During the initial days of the outbreak of the coronavirus disease Muslims, on the pretext of Tablighi Jamaat members, were maligned. Yet, these journalists did not find those events as proper occasions for the resignation.

However, Sodhi was applauded by the media community for his courageous move, but there are some black spots on his part, too. Some of the activists and reporters have raised questions and pointed out the dark side of the journalist.

Commenting on the video interview of Sodhi with Newslaundry, journalist Vijaita Singh tweeted, “Irrelevant, but this reporter used to write really nasty tweets to me, especially after my Kashmir coverage, had to mute his account. So please.”

Multimedia journalist Mirza Arif Beg tweeted, “It’s relevant. In fact, more so because now he is claiming moral high ground. He can say a million things but we all know why he finally quit. Also, one doesn’t really have to listen to ex-Republic reporters to know what the channel does and has been doing since Day 1.”

Sodhi, who plays the victim in his letter, has been victimising people on social media. Activist Kavita Krishanan reacted, “Same. Any number of tweets by @TejinderSsodhi trolling me, calling me “rudali” and “terror supporter” for raising issues of human rights abuse. Glad he’s left Republic and recognises he was used as a hitman, but he shd apologise to all victims of his & his ex channel’s hit jobs.”

In his one of the replies to Kavita Krishnan, Sodhi said, “Kavita @kavita_krishnan you continue to be a rudali and terror supporter for me. If you call killing a terrorist a human rights abuse then you don’t deserve any respect. So have a glass of cold water as you continue to be a rudali and terror supporter”.

Accusing Sodhi of spreading fake news, activist Md Asif Khan tweeted, “RTI activist @irohitchoudhary and Republic reporter @TejinderSsodhi claimed that they were attacked by Rohingyas. But news reports say it was a minor traffic jam issue, later turned up into mayhem. Police also denied the role of Rohingya, 2 local guys were arrested.”

Newslaundry Journalist Meghnad, came to the rescue of Sodhi after he received a backlash and criticism over his acts. Meghnad, in his tweet said, “Can we please stop shitting on Republic TV reporters who are *finally* quitting that [sic.] hatemongering factory? Sorry but your idealism doesn’t pay the rent of young journalists trying to make it in an already low-paying high-risk profession.”

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