In October, journalist Vinod Dua found himself in the eye of the storm after episode 318 of Jan Gan Man Ki Baat aired on The Wire. The episode courted controversy as Dua could be seen mocking the #MeToo campaign as trivial in an election year. In the same episode, Dua had announced a week-long suspension of his show. Notably, it was only days before this episode had aired that Dua had been accused of sexual harassment by filmmaker Nishtha Jain.
On October 20, The Wire’s editors had issued an unreserved apology for the manner in which the “allegation was trivialised” in the last episode of Jan Gan Man Ki Baat. A five-member committee was also set up to look into the allegations levelled against Dua.
Cut to December 5, 2018. HW News, of which Sujit Nair is the managing editor, announced that Dua would now appear on their platform. The HW News Hindi Twitter handle also has a promo of Dua pinned to its timeline.
In the promo, Dua speaks about the difficulty in choosing between a number of papers as well as news channels. He emphasises upon how a large section of the media has become sarkari or darbari, and how the voice of the people is lost. He speaks about how very few select channels are left that speak up and how attempts are even being made to silence them. But there is one voice that is fearless (bekhauf) and unstoppable (bebaak), he says, as he announces that he will be now appearing on HW Hindi from Monday through Thursday, every night at 9 pm.
Dua also says that while the platform of his show might have changed, his spirits (tewar) haven’t.
In another video, Dua says he will continue raising people’s concerns. He reminds viewers that they are no longer slaves (gulam) but citizens. And since they have the power of voting, they also need to step up and become active (kaabil) citizens.
Newslaundry reached out to Siddharth Varadarajan, founding editor, The Wire, for comments about the status of the investigation and the status of Dua’s show, Jan Gan Man Ki Baat, which until recently was hosted by The Wire.
The questions and the answers are reproduced below:
What’s the status of the committee’s investigation? In case the committee has submitted its report, could you share the recommendations made by the members?
The external committee’s deliberations started in October and are still on.
Does Mr Dua still hold the role of consulting editor at The Wire?
Vinod Dua has been working pro bono for The Wire and has the designation of Consulting Editor. Of course, he remains free to work elsewhere.
Will Jan Gan Man ki Baat be re-aired?
We announced on the day the external committee began its work that the Jan Gan Man programme would remain suspended till the end of its work.