Republic TV is about Arnab Goswami multiplied 24 by 7
Arnab Goswami’s new English news channel Republic TV is bang on target. It is very much a reflection of what India has become – a noisy, chaotic place where coherent debate without shouting, screaming and name-calling is impossible.
For someone who has not watched Indian news channels for over two years now, the first hour of watching a show on Republic TV on Sunday night was frazzling. I just couldn’t figure out what the issue was, who the people were and what they were fighting about. There were five panellists on a show that was wrongly titled ‘The Sunday Debate’. It was not a debate. It was a one-sided haranguing of the panellists by Republic TV’s biggest shareholder and editor-in-chief, the inimitable Arnab Goswami. Not that the panellists were bothered – they were all shouting at the same time trying to get their point across. It was something to do with accusations of corruption against Delhi chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal. But mid-way Goswami asked one panellist, “Where are the pseudo secularists, where is the Lutyens media?”
More than a month back I had asked Goswami, who is more charming in person than on TV, why he harangues his guests so much? Why is his journalism so polarising? “I think of it as raising issues that need to be raised and in the process polarisation happens,” he said. He pointed to a Times Now campaign for Right to Pray on women’s right to enter religious places early in 2016. It led, in part, to a Mumbai high court judgement that stated that it is a woman’s fundamental right. Goswami was then the editorial head of Times Now, a channel he came to define with his blustering style.(read more)