Baltej Pannu is a famous Indian journalist, social activist, and political satirist. He returned from Canada in 2011 after working there for 25 years.
Baltej Pannu was born on Friday, 5 April 1968 (age 53 years; as of 2021) in Sultanpur Lodhi, Punjab. He did his schooling from a Govt. High School in Sultanpur Lodhi, and at the age of 18, shifted to Canada along with his father.
Hair Colour: Bald
Eye Colour: Black
Family & Caste
Parents & Siblings
Baltej’s mother died of cancer when he was very young. Not much information is available about his parents and siblings.
Relationships, Wife & Children
His wife’s name is Ranjita Kaur, and he has one son, Jasdeep Pannu.
Mr. Pannu is a resident of Green Field Enclave, Officers Colony in Patiala, Punjab.
Baltej Pannu started working as a radio journalist in 1990 in Brampton, Canada. He gained popularity after worked for some famous radio news stations, like Punjabi Radio USA, Connect Radio B.C. Canada, and South Asian Radio Edmonton. Mr. Pannu returned to India in 2011, and he started working as an editor for a website www.aajnama.com in 2013. Due to his social and political activism, Baltej started appearing six days a week on Punjabi-language radio and television programs on 5AAB TV, a Mississauga-based Punjabi-language channel; Mississauga is a city in Canada. He has a news show on YouTube titled “Khabar Te Nazar.”
Social & Political Activism
Baltej Pannu has openly criticised the Punjab state government, run by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal for failing to control the corruption and increasing illegal drug trade. Baltej, on his shows Punjabi Radio USA and Connect Radio B.C. Canada, has claimed that since Parkash Singh Badal, his son, and two brothers-in-law hold key political positions in Punjab Government, they must have close links to drug traffickers and organized crime. Mr. Pannu is also very vocal of his views against the CAA and NRC introduced by the BJP government. He has also protested against the Indian agriculture acts of 2020.
2001 (Winner): Best Ethnic Editor 2001
- On 28 November 2015, Baltej was arrested for allegedly raping Nancy Ghuman, an activist who runs an NGO for differently-abled children. Nancy filed a complaint against Mr. Pannu stating that he repeatedly raped her on the pretext of marrying her and taking her to Canada. She even disrupted a press conference conducted by AAP MP Bhagwant Mann in the favour of Baltej. Bhagwant absconded the press conference, and Nancy told the reporters,
“When I insisted he marry me, he started threatening me by saying that he would upload footage to defame me. It was then that I decided to get him booked in a rape case.”
Following her complaint, Baltej was kept in judicial custody for 72 days on account of his Canadian citizenship. Later, the journalist was exonerated of all the charges by the court. In the interviews, following his release, Baltej conceded that he was a victim of political vendetta for his vocal criticism of the Akali-BJP government. Reportedly, he even received deaths by an Akali minister’s gunman for his anti-government comments. Hindustan Times
- During the farmers’ protests of 2021, Baltej, along with eleven other protestors, received a notice from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) pertaining to a case registered against Gurpatwant Singh Pannu, who is identified as a terrorist and a member of Sikhs for Justice (a US-based pro-Khalistan organisation). It was seen as a government’s attempt to hinder the protest. While talking about this in an interview, Mr. Pannu said,
I am actively supporting farmers agitation on social media but I have been speaking against Khalistan and Pannu [Gurpatwant Singh Pannu] openly in my radio talks and TV shows. There is no question of collecting any funds for them. Maybe I have been served notice because my surname is also Pannu.” The Tribune
Baltej owns a Mahindra Scorpio.
- Tracing his roots from Punjab, Mr. Pannu became a Canadian citizen after moving to Canada in 1986. Toronto Star
- According to the Canadian newspapers, more than 3000 people, including Ontario NDP Deputy Leader Jagmeet Singh, rallied for Baltej’s release on 27 November 2020 (one day after his arrest). More than 11,000 people signed a petition requesting the Canadian government to pressurize the Indian government for his release and return to Canada.