NL Interview: Tejinder Singh Sodhi on what Republic TV asks of its reporters, and why he left
In this interview, former Republic TV journalist Tejinder Singh Sodhi sits down with Newslaundry’s Manisha Pande to discuss the events surrounding his resignation letter, which has now become viral on social media. Tejinder Sodhi has been a journalist for about 18 years and prior to joining Republic TV he had worked for organisations like PTI, Hindustan Times and The Tribune. He is also the only Indian civilian to have studied at the US Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth.
On the reasons prompting his resignation from Republic TV on 5th August, Sodhi recounts how the organisation has no concept of exit interviews. The company is least concerned about the reasons surrounding anyone’s resignation from the organisation which is why he made it a point to write a separate note outlining his reasons aside from his resignation letter that he sent almost a month later. He says that while there were several reasons for his leaving, the fact that the staff was treated terribly was one of the most prominent reasons. He also cites instances where for a story he was made to compromise his ethics and resort to tactics like protesting with placards outside party offices. With regards to the Sunanda Pushkar case, he recalls how one of his colleagues was under so much pressure for an exclusive story that he suffered a heart attack while in office. Similar events surrounded another resignation from a reporter who was unable to get Rhea Chakroborty’s interview for the channel.
On the subject of his time at Republic TV, Sodhi recalls how the channel while campaigning against nepotism also actively supported it. An interview that had previously been granted to Mr. Sodhi was reassigned to a close crony of Arnab Goswami which is what triggered his resignation. He also recalls how reporters were constantly asked to focus on a particular angle while reporting their stories which was centred around bashing a particular political party.
With respect to the reporters mandate at Republic, Sodhi says that while he was never explicitly asked to not do a story on the BJP, the manner in which the stories were given prominence via the Mumbai desk made the bias very obvious. Since he headed the Jammu office for Republic, Sodhi recalls how while reporting about Mufti or Abdullah the channel would always focus on the one comment in their speeches that could be utilised to call them anti national and focussed all their energy on that.
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