Times Now's Editor-in-Chief responds to articles on him

Flix Monday, March 16, 2015 - 05:30
The News Minute | March 14, 2015 | 12.26 pm IST March has been a landmark month of sorts for journalism. A month when journalists turned their pen on the a fellow journalist - a senior one at that. Arnab Goswami has been the subject of four pieces in this month alone.¬†His position on banning a documentary on the 2012 Delhi gang rape victim and government calling Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai "anti-national" has prompted most of the discussion. Newslaundry ran an opinion piece on March 4, Firstpost published a comment on March 10 and the last to join was Outlook magazine. In a cover story dated March 23, the magazine took an expansive view of Goswami√Ę‚ā¨‚ĄĘs journalism, incorporating the views of many journalists including those who are currently with the channel or were associated with it in the past, and media scholars. For a journalist who is branded almost like the hero or even villain of a Bollywood action film, when asked about the articles on him Goswami says √Ę‚ā¨ŇďJournalists are not the story√Ę‚ā¨¬Ě. However, the most he would say is that, given Outlook√Ę‚ā¨‚ĄĘs cover appeared a week after its former editor Vinod Mehta√Ę‚ā¨‚ĄĘs death, it would have been prudent to choose a different subject for the cover story. He told The News Minute: √Ę‚ā¨ŇďIt would have been apt to put a tribute to the independent journalism of Vinod Mehta by putting him on the cover this time.√Ę‚ā¨¬Ě The immediate context to the situation is #NirbhayaInsulted, the campaign that Times Now ran, when it became known that NDTV was going to telecast "India√Ę‚ā¨‚ĄĘs Daughter", a documentary on the Delhi gang rape victim. The campaign raised eyebrows and later caused disquiet after the government prohibited the telecast of the documentary, presumably on account of the pressure created by the channel. The Outlook story claims that it was after watching the News Hour that day that the government decided to ban the documentary. All this had happened when nobody had watched the film, and all that was known about the documentary was through a report in the UK-based newspaper The Telegraph, which carried some statements made by one of the convicts Mukesh Singh in an interview he gave to the filmmaker. All the articles criticize Goswami for the position he took, and also for demands that the film be banned, which were made on his show. He has been accused of curbing free speech by advocating for the ban. What all these articles also comment upon, is Goswami√Ę‚ā¨‚ĄĘs brand of journalism and the influence he has had on the profession in the country. Writing in Newsluanry, Abhinandan Sekhri for instance, says that he was now being critical of Goswami even though he did respect him, because Goswami actively participated in an attack on free speech by seeking for a ban on the documentary. Almost as a precursor to this, on March 2 Kavita Krishnan wrote a piece on Scroll titled √Ę‚ā¨ŇďZehen ki loot: the plunder of reason by Arnab Goswami√Ę‚ā¨¬Ě. The title clearly suggests what the article contains. She wrote it after being repeatedly called √Ę‚ā¨Ňďanti-national√Ę‚ā¨¬Ě on the News Hour, and accused Goswami of abetting such name-calling on the part of some of the other panelists on the show. Both Firstpost and Newslaundry discuss the impact Goswami has had on Indian journalism and not all of it was bad. They say he shook up other English news channels from preaching to their audiences and gave the latter what it wanted to hear. It is rare for Indian journalists to discuss let alone critique the particular brand of journalism that a very senior journalist practices. If nothing, it is a healthy development, that the media is now open to discussing the conduct of the members of its fraternity. But what needs to be taken into account is that for some years now Arnab Goswami has maintained his persona, a cleverly cultivated one of being a social crusader. But it is now that other journalists have started speaking about him more openly as he has begun invading their campaigns and idiosyncracies¬†and he's racked the level of audaciousness up by several notches - creating a legion of followers, making criticism of him into a debate as well. Read-¬†Should you forward messages on social media asking for blood donors? Read-¬†Petition urges Oxford to cancel Subramanian Swamy and Malhotra talk Tweet Follow @thenewsminute