En route to launching his new venture Republic TV, Arnab Goswami finally offered the nation a chance ‘to know’. In an Ask-Me-Anything session on Reddit, Goswami invited viewers to direct their questions to him – whether they were answered or not is debateable.
The questions redditors asked varied from international plans for Republic TV to Goswami’s views on nationalism.
One of the first questions in the thread was about Republic’s proclaimed ‘unbiased’ coverage, despite having a chief investor aligned with the BJP:
“You have been promoting Republic TV as an unbiased media outlet with no conflicts of interest. But with Rajeev Chandrashekhar, a strong BJP supporter and Rajya Sabha MP running the show, and Anupam Kher, another vocal BJP supporter whose wife is a BJP MP, being asssociated with the channel, how can you say that there won't be bias? And why was an article by The Wire highlighting the same taken down when you yourself advocate freedom of press?”
In his defence, Arnab simply said he was “proud” of his partners:
“I am very proud of all my partners. Each one of them believes in my journalism. I am proud of the investment we have received from Asianet News. It is India's oldest private news channel. Rajeev is a nationalist and we share a great rapport. About The Wire, less said the better. They are using my name to try and get some followers on their crumbling news site. :)”
Responding to the question on why an article on The Wire regarding the same was taken down, Goswami replied “less said the better” about the website, calling it a “crumbling news site” in addition.
Goswami, who has been infamous for his kangaroo court-style debates on television, also said he will “try his best to manage all panelists” on his show.
He was responding to a question about a “better debate format”:
“Can we expect a better debate format?
- Only one mic active at a give time.
- An onscreen timer for each participant, showcasing the total duration their mic was active.
- Uniterrupted X unit of time is given to a participant to present their opinion.”
Arnab – the Nationalist Who’s “For the Right”
Goswami asserted that his and his channel’s stand is only “for the right”. There’s no political positioning, he clarified:
“There is no political positioning. There is right and wrong. I’m for the right. Those who win in grey waters are confused or dishonest.”
Goswami said all Indians should be “pro-military” and “pro-India”, even “if that makes us right-wing”.
All Indians should be pro-military and pro-India. If that makes us right-wing, then so be it. As for The Wire, please refer to the above and check the nationality of its editor.
On being asked if India is being “blinded by patriotism”, Goswami responds – “there can never be enough nationalism. The more the better”.
“We have forces that are trying to divide and break India from within. No nation can be soft on anti-nationals. My position remains the same that I took when a bunch of anti-nationals tried to make the breakup of India into a slogan on the JNU campus. I took them on, even though the Lutyens media and cocktail activists didn’t.”
Among other questions was a five-part question addressing cow vigilantism, closeness with BJP leaders and human-rights violations in Kashmir, citing an Amnesty International report:
“4) You have routinely asked for the forces to be given a "free hand" in Kashmir. Here is a Human Rights Watch report detailing rapes by the Indian forces in Kashmir. Here is an amnesty international report.pdf) detailing the murder of many civilians by armed forces. Do you, and your channel, condone the killing and rapes by the armed forces ?”
Goswami chose to answer only this part of the question, with:
I don’t believe the garble that Amnesty and Greenpeace put out about my country.
Arnab Is Definitely Not Left-Liberal
“How can the Delhi Gymkhana circuit be Leftist,” says Goswami as he goes on to explain how the term “left-liberal” is an oxymoron:
- The whole left-liberal phrase is a charade. How can the Delhi Gymkhana circuit be leftist? Leftists cannot be liberal and those who are liberal cannot be leftists. So its also an oxymoron.
- Yes there is a need to balance the narrative. We have had historians who had the temerity to classify Bhagat Singh as a terrorist. These people must be brought off their pulpits. These people have had a disproportionate share of voice because a large section of the traditional legacy media has co-opted them and given them space in editorial pages and TV. Im trying to change that. We need a fresh new group of people who lead opinion in India...
Goswami was also of the opinion that death threats and attacks “should be water off a duck’s back, for journalists.”
Freedom for a reporter is in his mind. I broke many scams and many more are to come. Nobody threatened me. Threats should be water off a duck’s back, for journalists.
In the past few months, Republic TV has been active in the media space, even before officially launching their channel. Goswami has made his presence felt through tweets (that have gone viral), video clips and constant publicity on social media. It’s as if Arnab Goswami never went off prime-time.