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Barkha Dutt to launch her own English news channel?

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MUMBAI: Another one bites the bullet. The buzz has been gathering pace that celebrity journalist-editor Barkha Dutt is gradually ammo-ing up to launch her own English-language TV news channel. In doing so, the former face of NDTV’s prime time shows will follow in the footsteps of some of her other famous colleagues like Rajdeep Sardesai (now re-christened CNN-IBN) and Arnab Goswami (Republic TV).

Apparently, she has found a bunch of backers in New Delhi and Haryana who are willing to fund her foray into a full-fledged TV news channel.  

While its name and launch date is still in the works, Dutt’s star power is guaranteed to generate plenty of excitement and curiosity in the news industry and among audiences in the days to come. 

Indiantelevision.com tried reaching out to Dutt for confirmation of the same, but she didn’t respond to queries. 

It’s interesting that she is taking the news channel plunge at a time when the fortunes are on the way down for her former boss, NDTV’s Prannoy Roy, who has been facing a barrage of intimidating requests from the income tax and other government departments. In recent times, NDTV has had to cut down on manpower too and Dutt was amongst the first ones to let go. 

This isn’t the first time Dutt - who shot to fame during her Kargil reportage with NDTV in the late 1990s - has been linked with the launch of an English news channel. In 2017, the Financial Express had carried a report about her joining hands with Network18’s founder and former owner Raghav Bahl to set up a news channel.

Dutt, who continues to draw sharp reactions from TV audiences, has taken quite a diverse set of projects on her plate after her 21-year association with NDTV.

After the rather abrupt end of her collaboration with former Indian Express editor-in-chief-turned-entrepreneur Shekhar Gupta at the digital venture The Print, Dutt went on to establish a company called MoJo, which some say also has links to mobile journalism.

Under the MoJo banner, the 46-year-old interviews major newsmakers in her inimitable style. She also writes columns for the Hindustan Times, Washington Post and The Week.

Known as a frequent baiter of Republic TV boss Arnab Goswami on Twitter, it would be interesting to observe the tone and tenor of the TV news channel helmed by her.

Other details of the news venture, including the applicant-company’s name, are still a bit sketchy as it is not clear yet whether an application to start a full-fledged TV news channel has already been made by Dutt and her partners at the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, which has started clearing channel proposals after a nine-month hiatus.

With over six million Twitter followers, Dutt remains one of media’s most important voices despite severe trolling on social media for her known viewpoints --- dubbed controversial by a section of India --- on issues linked to Kashmir and Pakistan.

It now remains to be seen whether she still has it in her to shape the political and social narrative in her second coming.  

Also Read:

Barkha Dutt bids adieu to NDTV; hints at new venture

Arnab-Barkha face-off amplifies disturbing trends

The rise and fall of English news’ TV viewership

English TV news channels to return to BARC fold from midnight 26 May

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