With their resignations, almost the entire founding team of the channel - both editorial and managerial - has now left the channel after Reliance Industries Limited took over Network 18 in the end of May.
  • Wednesday, February 25, 2015 - 05:30

The News Minute | July 4, 2014 | 10.34 am IST

CNN-IBN Editor-in-Chief Rajdeep Sardesai and Deputy Editor of the channel Sagarika Ghose have resigned from the channel, after days of speculation on whether they would quit or not.

Confirming his resignation, Rajdeep sent an email to the entire team of CNN IBN including IBN 7 and IBN Lokmat. 

Both wrote to their colleagues, bidding them farewell. While Sagarika Ghose said au revoir” to her colleagues at the channel, a portion of Rajdeep's letter clearly hinted about losing editorial independence. He says, "Editorial independence and integrity have been articles of faith in 26 years in journalism and maybe I am too old now to change!"

In his email, he writes, "This is one of the toughest letters to write. After nine wonderful years at IBN 18, its time to say goodbye. I must confess its not easy to leave a baby that one has helped create/build/grow and to leave such great colleagues. But I guess certain things in life are written in the stars. Editorial independence and integrity have been articles of faith in 26 years in journalism and maybe I am too old now to change. I would though like to look at the brighter side, the many happy times we have all shared. I still remember when we decided to set up an English news channel: we had one chair and a table, and no one gave us a hope in hell. "

He signs off by saying, "P.S. am sorry if I would occasionally call at 3 am in the morning. Blame it on being a news junkie. And remember, every time there is a spelling mistake on the ticker, my ghost will haunt you!!"

CNN-IBN under Rajdeep Sardesai's leadership went on air in December 2005. Sardesai, who had worked with The Times of India, later rose to India's top anchors on NDTV and moved to CNN-IBN taking along with him a strong team of journalists.

Though Rajdeep Sardesai has bid adieu to CNN IBN, his next plan remains unclear. Initial reports suggested he was in talks with Focus TV, a new channel being floated by the Jindal group.Scroll reported that Sardesai is considering taking a break for a year to write a book.

Sagarika Ghose took to Twitter to announce her decision publicly late on Thursday night. She had earlier sent a message to her colleagues at the channel telling them that she was leaving the channel to explore things that were “a little more challenging and creative, explore new vistas in reportage and commentary”.

Saying that the channel and been an “integral part of my life for almost every waking minute these past years”, Ghose told her colleagues that it had been “a joy and an honour” to work with them during this time. “At CNN IBN, an incredible team of professionals brought total commitment and integrity to reporting the news. We put journalism first and because of that we became a trusted and much loved brand,” she said.

The senior journalist has spent around 25 years in the profession. In her message to her colleagues, she also said: “A free fearless press is the infrastructure of democracy--without it the term “citizenship” is diminished indeed. CNNIBN was always free and responsible! That’s why it became such an incredible success, so beloved of viewers. We created magic and that magic touched millions of lives, and the magic will remain with each of us always! The words of John Tusa, the venerable former director general of BBC World Service come to me: “Journalists cannot become the outriders of authority...but the freedom we have is the freedom to be responsible.”

She ended her message by saying: "Good bye is an unhappy word. I prefer au revoir..until we meet again."

Founded by Raghav Bahl, Network 18 is one of India's largest media companies. After the takeover, Mint reported in June: "In early 2012, Mukesh Ambani’s RIL bought debentures in Network18’s promoter group companies, convertible into shares at any time within 10 years, infusing much-needed cash into Network18." It was this set up which eventually lead to RIL completely takeover of Network18.

Initial reports suggested that Sardesai would quit once the new management takes over on June 7. Now, there is speculation about who will head the editorial team at the channel.

Sagarika Ghose is likely to join the India Today Group as Deputy Group Editor. Ghose’ possible entry into the group, is likely to result in a concentration of star journalists for the group. Shekar Gupta is Vice Chairperson of India Today Group. Though Ghose is joining the India Today group, it is not clear if she would be part of the English channel Headlines Today.

Sardesai has handed over his resignation to the HR department, said a source from CNN IBN. 

Meanwhile, there were rumours that NDTV's Barkha Dutt would take on as the new Editor-in-Chief of the channel. However, Dutt took to Twitter to rubbish all such claims:“Sahara story entirely speculative; they've not spoken to me.If there's ever any news at my end, you will hear it from me.”