Barkha Dutt

Barkha Dutt is an Indian television journalist, author and owner of YouTube news channel MoJo.[2][3]

Barkha Dutt
Barkha Dutt World Economic Forum Nov 2010.jpg
Dutt at the World Economic Forum, 2010
Born (1971-12-18) 18 December 1971 (age 49) [1]
EducationSt. Stephen's College, Delhi (BA)
Jamia Millia Islamia (MA)
Columbia University (MS)
OccupationNews Anchor
Years active1991–present
Notable credit(s)
We the People
The Buck Stops Here
AwardsPadma Shri

She is an opinion columnist with The Hindustan Times[4] and The Washington Post.[5] Dutt was part of NDTV's team for 21 years, until she left the channel in January 2017.[6] Barkha emerged as a prominent figure after her frontline war reporting on the Kargil Conflict between India and Pakistan in 1999.[7] Dutt has won many national and international awards, including the Padma Shri, India's fourth highest civilian honour.[8] Dutt was one of the journalists taped in the Radia tapes controversy.[9] At NDTV, Dutt was the host of the weekly, award-winning talk-show We The People as well as the daily prime-time show The Buck Stops Here.[10]

Personal life

She was born in New Delhi to S. P. Dutt, an Air India official, and Prabha Dutt, who was a well-known journalist with the Hindustan Times.[11] Dutt credits her journalistic skills to her mother, a pioneer among women journalists in India.[12] Her younger sister, Bahar Dutt, is also a television journalist working for CNN IBN.[12] She describes herself as agnostic who rejects religion.[13][14] She supports the concept of a Uniform Civil Code.[15][16] Barkha has expressed her opinion against Triple Talaq and Muslim patriarchy.[17]


Dutt graduated from St. Stephen's College, Delhi with a degree in English literature. She received a Master's in Mass Communications from Jamia Millia Islamia Mass Communication Research Center, New Delhi. She started her journalism career with NDTV and later rose to head the English news wing of the organisation. She also obtained a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, New York assisted by an Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation scholarship.[18] Her reporting of the Kargil conflict in 1999, including an interview with Captain Vikram Batra, brought her to prominence in India.[7][19] She has since covered conflicts in Kashmir, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq.[20]

While covering the events of 2002 Gujarat violence, Dutt identified attackers and victims of a riot as "Hindus" and "Muslims" on television, flouting the guidelines of the Press Council of India.[21] She has received negative reception for some of her work. For 2008 Mumbai attacks, she was blamed for sensationalising the events, putting lives at risk and causing deaths by identifying on live television where the hotel guests might be located.[22] Britta Ohm wrote in 2011 that Dutt is criticised for "secular shrillness", betraying the cause of Kashmiri Pandits, over-the-top nationalism in the reporting of Kargil conflict, and for soft-pedalling Hindutva.[23]

Dutt who was group editor of NDTV moved to the role of consulting editor in February 2015[24] and after 21 years, she left in January, 2017.[25] Barkha used to write columns for many national and international newspapers, such as The Washington Post.[26][27]

During the COVID-19 Migration Crisis, her extensive on-road coverage brought out and documented the difficulties faced by migrant workers all over North India.[28]


Tiranga TV controversy

Barkha served as an anchor and consulting editor at Tiranga TV during 26 January - 13 July 2019.[29] Her show was titled Democracy Live. In July 2019, reports emerged that she was sacked by the Tiranga TV owners Kapil Sibal and his wife Promila Sibal on 'disciplinary grounds'.[30] Dutt disputed this version of events by Sibals, claimed she was sacked for speaking out in internal emails against the treatment of other staffers, and vowed to sue the channel owners in court.[30]

2010 Radia tapes controversy

In November 2010, the magazines OPEN and Outlook published transcripts of some telephone conversations between Nira Radia with some senior journalists, politicians, and corporates.[31][32] The Central Bureau of Investigation announced that they had 5,851 recordings of phone conversations by Radia, some of which outline Radia's attempts to broker deals in relation to the 2G spectrum sale.[33] Dutt's conversations with Radia were reported and Dutt became the face of the tapes scandal.[34] On 30 November 2010, Dutt defended herself before a jury of her peers in a televised program on NDTV.[34] Dutt apologised over the issue saying it was "an error of judgement" on her part, but said that she had not indulged in any wrongdoing.[2] Magazine editor Hartosh Singh Bal said that "proximity of NDTV and Tehelka are concerned, their closeness to the Congress is no secret. Dutt’s role in the Radia Tapes did not seem to point to an individual act but an institutional malaise."[35]


  • Dutt has co-authored the chapter "'Nothing new?':Women as Victims" in book - Varadarajan, Siddharth (2002). Gujarat: The Making of a Tragedy. ISBN 978-0143029014..
  • Dutt, Barkha (2015). The Unquiet Land. ISBN 978-9382277163.

Awards and honours

Dutt's Sunday talk show has won the most awards out of any show on Indian television, winning the Indian Television Academy award for Best Talk Show five years in a row. In 2012, the Association for International Broadcasting awarded Dutt the title of "TV Personality of the year" with the following citation: "a reporter of considerable stretch and depth, still passionate and fearless in bringing the issues closer to her viewers."[36][37] Dutt was the recipient of the C H Mohammed Koya National Journalism Award in 2009.[38] In 2008, Dutt received the Indian News Broadcasting Award for the Most Intelligent News Show Host.[39] Dutt received the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association award for Journalist of the Year, 2007.[40] She was awarded "Best TV News Anchor (English) for her programme "We the people" at the first Indian News Television Awards in 2007.[41]

In 2008, the Indian government headed by Manmohan Singh awarded Dutt the Padma Shri, a civilian honour, for her coverage of the 2004 tsunami.[8][42]

She has twice been named on the list of 100 "Global Leaders of Tomorrow" compiled by the World Economic Forum (2001, 2008).[43] In 2005, she was among 50 Indians who were 35 or younger and listed for their achievements and impact on society.[44]

In 2010, she was appointed as a member of India's National Integration Council.[45][46] She was named an Asia Society Fellow in 2006 and serves on the International Advisory Council of the Asia Society.[47]

Dutt was awarded the Chameli Devi Jain Award for Outstanding Women Mediapersons in 2000.[48]

In popular culture

As per movie reviewers and critics, Dutt has been a model for the portrayal of journalist characters in several Hindi movies. Some of these are –

  • In the 2004 movie Lakshya, Preity Zinta played a female journalist reporting on the 1999 Kargil Conflict.[49][50]
  • In the 2006 Malayalam Movie Keerthi Chakra, one of the journalist character was based on Dutt. The protagonist Mohanlal gets angry for taking pictures in a sensitive war area. In an earlier incident because of the flash photography by the journalist one of the soldiers was killed.
  • In the 2008 movie Firaaq, a TV viewer is shown responding to Dutt's commentary on the 2002 Gujarat riots as "They [English speaking news reporters] all tell lies ... where were they when the Hindus were being killed".[51]
  • In the 2010 satire Peepli Live, the character of the news anchor was modelled on Sagarika Ghose or Barkha Dutt, according to movie critic Raja Sen.[52] Sen wrote that in the movie, the news anchor only cared about TRPs and "squealed inexplicably in English" even when her subject was Hindi-speaking central India.
  • In the 2011 movie No One Killed Jessica, Rani Mukerji played a news reporter who is first seen in the movie reporting on the 1999 Kargil Conflict is portraying Dutt's character.
  • In the 2014 movie Singham Returns, Ashwini Kalsekar played a TV journalist role inspired by Dutt.[53][54]

Dutt was the model for the protagonist in Anand Kurian's novel, The Peddler of Soaps.[55]


  1. ^ Fr. Francis M Peter; Carlyle Mcfarland; M Lazer Selva; Illa Vij; Aparna Ghosh Dastidar. Grammar & More 8. Ratna Sagar. p. 143. ISBN 978-81-8332-460-1.
  2. ^ a b "Journalism ethics row grips India". BBC News Online. 3 December 2010. Retrieved 15 July 2013.
  3. ^ "Barkha Dutt Slams Mentor Company NDTV Over Use of MoJo". Outlook (India). Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  4. ^ "Barkha Dutt". The Hindustan Times.
  5. ^ "Barkha Dutt". Washington Post.
  6. ^ "NDTV Statement on Barkha Dutt".
  7. ^ a b Independence Day Thoughts, RaghuKrishnan, The Economic Times, 24 August 2003, accessed on 22 January 2012
  8. ^ a b "Rajdeep Sardesai, Vinod Dua and Barkha Dutt Conferred Padma Shri". 27 January 2008. Archived from the original on 25 November 2012. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
  9. ^ Udas, Sumnima (2 December 2010). "Leaked tapes put India, media in crisis". CNN. Retrieved 5 December 2010.
  10. ^ "Kumaon Literary Festival". Retrieved 9 August 2016.
  11. ^ "When a journalist ordered firing? : Capital Closeup". Archived from the original on 16 September 2009. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
  12. ^ a b Express news service (30 November 2007). "Prabha Dutt fellowship goes to Express journalist". Express India. Archived from the original on 1 August 2014. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
  13. ^ "As Indian as they come". Hindustan Times. 14 March 2006.
  14. ^ "If I were Muslim..."
  15. ^ "Shame at Sabarimala: Why India's women need a uniform civil code".
  16. ^ "The fight against triple talaq is a fight for basic dignity". Hindustan Times. 3 June 2016.
  17. ^ "What India's liberals get wrong about women and sharia law".
  18. ^ "Inlaks Alumni List". Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation. Retrieved 5 September 2010.[dead link]
  19. ^ Rajdeep Sardesai, Vinod Dua and Barkha Dutt Conferred Padma Shri Archived 25 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine, MediaWire, 27 January 2008, accessed on 22 January 2012
  20. ^ Three top TV news anchors get Padma Shri Archived 26 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine, (IANS), 2008, accessed on 22 January 2012
  21. ^ Sonwalkar, Prasun (2006). Cole, Benjamin (ed.). Conflict, Terrorism And the Media in Asia. Routledge. p. 89. ISBN 9780415351980. Retrieved 12 July 2013.
  22. ^ Kampfner, John (2010). Freedom for Sale. Basic Books. p. 157. ISBN 9780415351980. Retrieved 12 July 2013.
  23. ^ Ohm, Britta (2011). Banaji, Shakuntala (ed.). South Asian Media Cultures: Audiences, Representations, Contexts. London, UK: Anthem Press. ISBN 9781843313205. Retrieved 15 July 2013.
  24. ^ "Barkha Dutt Moves to Consulting Editor, NDTV Group".
  25. ^ NDTV Statement On Barkha Dutt, 15 Jan 2017
  26. ^ "The inside story of how India China came to blows".
  27. ^ "The New York Times tried to explain sari fashion – and became the laughingstock of India".
  28. ^ Sirur, Simrin (9 June 2020). "Only way to give back is to tell a powerful story: Inside Barkha Dutt's 84-day Covid journey". ThePrint. Retrieved 4 October 2020.
  29. ^ "Harvest TV to be renamed 'Tiranga TV' after TDSAT order". Ultra News.
  30. ^ a b
  31. ^ Hussain, Yasir (2012). Corruption Free India: Fight to Finish. Epitome Books. pp. 67, 68, 130, 134. ISBN 9789380297248. Retrieved 12 July 2013.
  32. ^ "Tell me what should I tell them?". Open Magazine. 20 November 2010.
  33. ^ "Radia tapes: Scandal in the media". Deccan Herald.
  34. ^ a b Polgreen, Lydia (3 December 2010). "A Journalist in India Ends Up in the Headlines". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 July 2013.
  35. ^ Bal, Hartosh. "The Unreliable Source". Open. Retrieved 9 April 2016.
  36. ^ "Kim Hill wins global radio broadcasting award". The New Zealand Herald. 8 November 2012. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
  37. ^ "2012 AIBs Winners and Highly Commended". Association for International Broadcasting. 2012. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
  38. ^ "Burkha Dutt, Noorani given C H Mohammed Koya journalism award". 4 November 2009. Archived from the original on 8 August 2014. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
  39. ^ "Barkha Dutt Gets Most Intelligent News Show Host Award in Airtel Indian News Broadcasting Award (INB) 2008". Archived from the original on 11 June 2010. Retrieved 30 August 2010.
  40. ^ "Barkha Dutt is Commonwealth Broadcasting Assoc's 'journalist of the year'". 20 February 2007. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
  41. ^ "News Room Headlines> TV18 Group & NDTV win top honours at Indian News Television Awards; Prannoy Roy gets Lifetime Achievement". 19 July 2007. Retrieved 30 August 2010.
  42. ^ "Ratan Tata, L.N. Mittal receive Padma Vibhushan". The Hindu. 11 May 2008. Archived from the original on 3 October 2009. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
  43. ^ "Lounge | Barkha Dutt". Archived from the original on 7 March 2012. Retrieved 30 August 2010.
  44. ^ "The 50 on the fast track". India Today. 31 January 2005. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
  45. ^ "National Integration Council reconstituted". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 14 April 2010. Archived from the original on 19 September 2011.
  46. ^ [1] Archived 27 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  47. ^ [2] Archived 23 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  48. ^ "The Hindu : Barkha Dutt gets award". The Hindu. Press Trust of India. 4 April 2000. Retrieved 9 March 2019.CS1 maint: others (link)
  49. ^ "Preity Zinta interview". 28 January 2011.
  50. ^ "Farhan Akhtar interview". 28 January 2011.
  51. ^ Kurian, Alka (2012). South Asian Cinema – Routledge Advances in Film Studies. Oxon, UK: Routledge. p. 89. ISBN 9781136466700. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
  52. ^ Sen, Raja (24 August 2010). "Cliche-driven cinema". Bangalore Mirror. Archived from the original on 25 June 2018. Retrieved 11 July 2013.
  53. ^ "Marathi actors rule Singham Returns". The Times of India.
  54. ^ admin (15 August 2014). "Movie Review- Singham Returns: AATA MAJHI SATAKLI!".
  55. ^ "The Peddler of Soaps". WLI Foundation.

External links