WION is an Indian multinational English news channel headquartered in New Delhi. It is owned by the Essel Group and is part of the Zee Media network of channels. According to Indian news magazine The Week, the channel covers global news and current affairs The name WION is an abbreviation for World is One News.
History of WION
Its website was launched in many countries as a free-to-air satellite service on 15 June 2016. The television channel began airing on 15 August 2016. WION is India’s first privately owned international news channel.
The founder Rohit Gandhi and editor-in-chief started the build of the channel in August 2015. He spent the first 6 months in building the branding and building the technology of the network. In May 2016, he hired his former student from Carleton University Mandy Clark, former CBS correspondent, as his deputy for running the network. He then hired Mithaq Kazimi (Digital Hub), Surya Gangadharan (head of TV output) and Padma Rao (head of input) as managing producers respectively. Gandhi spent over a year interviewing 2300 people to select about 200 journalists with two HR professional primarily Varsha Sinha and Vancha Garg to select his team. He hand picked his team. He hired correspondents in countries even though they were in conflict with India where his channel was based, because of his credentials as an objective journalist. Taha Siddiqui in Pakistan was one of his hired who later had to seek asylum after Gandhi exited from the network. He also hired journalists included Saad Hammadi, Bangladesh bureau chief and former correspondent for The Guardian, Archith Seshadri, former CNN anchor, and Anchal Vohra as the Beirut and conflict region at large Correspondent.
The current team includes Sudhir Chaudhary as editor-in-chief, and former senior editor Palki Sharma Upadhyay as executive editor. Palki Sharma Upadhyay hosts a special segment “Gravitas” which airs Monday to Friday at 9 PM to 10 PM IST. Sidhant Sibal of DD News joined the organisation on 1 April 2018. Sumit Chaturvedi, who was previously with ET Now and CNBC TV18, currently looks after the business news content and conducts morning and evening business shows called “WALLET”. The former news anchor of Republic TV, Akanksha Swarup, joined WION in 2018, becoming one of the channel’s leading faces. Sayed Mustafa Kazemi became the Afghanistan correspondent for the channel in February 2020. Associated journalists include Naveen Kapoor, Digvijay Singh Deo, Rabin Sharma, Ieshan Wani, Kartikeya Sharma, and Alyson le Grange.
The channel’s Pakistan bureau chief, Taha Siddiqui, was forced into exile after a failed kidnapping attempt in Islamabad. He was replaced by Anas Mallick.
- Gravitas: WION’s prime-time show which brings viewers news and discussions on concurrent issues from India and abroad.
- Gravitas Plus: A digital exclusive (Youtube and other social handles including official website) show.
- Global Leadership Series (GLS): An interview-based programme featuring a selection of heads of state or government.
- WION World Order: A platform for mutual dialogue on foreign policies.
- The Diplomacy Show: Interviews with diplomats.
- WION Sports: Covers global sports.
- Top Stories: Brings the breaking news of the hour from India and abroad.
- WION Speed News: A news segment of WION which brings the top stories of the morning.
- WION Wallet: Coverage of finance and the economy
- WION Fineprint: An analysis of international news and developments regarding social and economic issues
- Your Story: information on the most trending stories of the day from India and abroad.
- WION Pitstop: An autoshow covering previews, launches, first-drive/ride reports, comparisons and motorsport action from India and abroad.
- WION Tech It Out: a weekly technology show
- WION Wings: India’s first aviation show on television, covering flying, air shows, pilots, airlines and general aviation
- WION MELT: interviews with marketing profession
- WION Edge: One of WION’s most viewed programmes, focusing on stories and people from India and abroad.
- World at War: A special program delivered during the Russian invasion in Ukraine.
- World of Africa: A weekly program which concentrates on African politics, society and cultures
- Democracy & Dictatorship, hosted by Rohit Gandhi (2016–2017)
- This Also Happened, hosted by Archit Sheshadri and Sana Khan (2016-2018)
- WION Breakfast, hosted by various anchors (2016–2017)
Appointment of M. J. Akbar
In 2021, the appointment of M. J. Akbar, an Indian journalist and politician who has been accused of sexual assault by women, to WION as an “editorial consultant” was met with controversy, with more than 150 journalists signing a statement demanding that Akbar be removed by WION and Zee News.
2022 YouTube block
On 22 March, WION was blocked from YouTube for “violating Youtube’s community guidelines”. YouTube had taken objection to a video posted on 10 March broadcasting a speech by Sergey Lavrov, head of Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, denying the Russian invasion of Ukraine. YouTube unblocked the channel on 26 March after a social media campaign by WION
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