Last week, television journalist Rajdeep Sardesai had tweeted that a ‘highest viewed’ TV news show in Marathi, hosted by another journalist named Nikhil Wagle, had been stopped ‘overnight’ by Marathi news channel TV9:
Just heard: @waglenikhil prime time show, the highest viewed on Marathi news tv, stopped on TV 9 overnight! Why?
— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) July 20, 2017
This was acknowledged by Wagle himself, who termed the development “illegal” (though he has now deleted his tweet):
In the next couple of days, he acknowledged all messages that congratulated him for ‘fighting against political pressure’ and being a beacon of hope. He further made it no secret that he was blaming it all on Narendra Modi:
In my 38 years of journalism I have criticised all parties,faced physical attacks,but never experienced so much poison as in last 4 years.
— nikhil wagle (@waglenikhil) July 22, 2017
He also happily shared various news reports that were compiled based on his tweets and retweets, which claimed that his ‘popular show’ was dropped due to ‘political pressure’:
This alleged ‘censorship’ and ‘silencing’ of Nikhil Wagle was hyphenated with another alleged censorship and silencing of another journalist named Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, who had to step down as the Editor of the magazine Economic & Political Weekly (EPW) allegedly for writing against businessman Adani.
It was later found out that Thakurta was not only economical with the truth, he had even acted irresponsibly as an Editor, due to which the EPW trust asked him step down.
Now the claims made by Nikhil Wagle too are falling apart. A Facebook post by Vinod Kapri, a journalist turned filmmaker, has blasted the claims of both Rajdeep Sardesai and Nikhil Wagle and revealed the real reason why Wagle lost his prime-time TV show.
According to Kapri, Wagle’s show was garnering poor TRPs (television rating points) and this was the primary reason behind his troubles, though Wagle was making himself a ‘martyr’ by wrongly claiming censorship. Kapri claimed to be privy to the whole development as the CEO of TV9 group, Ravi Prakash happens to be known to him. The CEO had apparently asked Kapri to help him analyse why their Marathi new channel was not doing well, and this is when Kapri discovered the poor TRPs of Wagle’s show, which was termed as “highest viewed” by Rajdeep Sardesai.
Vinod Kapri revealed that after analysis of the Fixed Programming Chart (FPC), it was suggested that Wagle’s show should be moved from the 9-10 PM slot to the evening’s 5-6 PM slot. There were other suggestions too, which included a new FPC beginning 21st June, that helped the channel climb up to the third place from fourth place within 2 weeks, but Wagle’s show was not moved as he was a senior journalist and he was given more time to improve the ratings (TRP).
However, even after a month, it was found that ratings of Wagle’s show had not improved. In fact, it had slumped further. Things were so bad that his show hadn’t even featured in the top 100 in the 5 out of last 8 weeks. Wagle was then again reminded that his show’s timings would have to be changed, but he resisted the move. And next he was making claims on Twitter about his show being arbitrarily stopped and generally being concerned about journalism and freedom in Modi’s India.
To back his claims, Vinod Kapri even uploaded a screenshot of the email sent by the channel to Nikhil Wagle, which informed him that his show timings were being changed due to poor TRPs. So technically, the show was not stopped, but just shifted to a different time slot:
After Rajdeep Sardesai got cornered in the aftermath of these revelations, he came out with a completely new definition of TRP to justify his misleading tweet:
my definition of TRP has been, and always will be, Television ‘Respect’ Points!I hope one day you will understand it’s meaning!?
— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) July 26, 2017
On the other hand, Wagle came up with an ad hominem attack on Vinod Kapri, terming him as Bhakt, though Kapri has rarely tweeted in support of Narendra Modi. In fact, Kapri has often tweeted against Modi.
Nikhil Wagle insisted – without any proof – that his show had good TRPs. This was countered by Vinod Kapri on Twitter, who in a series of 8 tweets, shared the data showing abysmal ratings of Wagle’s show:
— Vinod Kapri (@vinodkapri) July 26, 2017
Vinod Kapri also revealed that the TV channel had issued a legal notice to Nikhil Walge for misleading, maligning, and spreading lies.