New Delhi: Amazon Prime’s web series Taandav, Republic TV’s Arnab Goswami and his leaked WhatsApp conversation with former BARC chief Partho Dasgupta as well as Joe Biden’s inauguration as the 46th president of the United States dominated prime time Wednesday night. Almost every news channel in Hindi and English had live coverage of the swearing in ceremony from Washington D.C.
ABP News came up with an “American edition” of their prime time debate show, where anchor Rubika Liyaquat called out Trump for his “childish” behaviour.
“This is like a child’s play, if I don’t win I won’t come on ground, I will go to Florida instead,” she said.
“Trump has exposed his own personality and character, broken all traditions and attacked the American democracy,” added former Indian envoy SD Muni.
Back in India, Republic TV owner Arnab Goswami’s chats with Dasgupta have been making headlines for days now. Wednesday night on Republic TV panelist after panelist defended the anchor on his messages that suggested he had prior knowledge of the Balakot attack in 2019. According to the panelists, the Balakot strike was something everyone knew about.
“Even a vegetable vendor who sells vegetables in my house knew that there will be a fitting response by this government,” said senior lawyer Swapnil Kothari.
“You do not need rocket science to understand these things, we know it. The PM had said that we will avenge our martyrs, it was easy to grasp,” defence expert Commodore GJ Singh (Retd.) added.
If it’s Republic TV an attack on the Congress is never far behind: “Congress posted 64 tweets on Arnab Goswami — there is a limit to fall down. Please be sane. It was generic information. Congress should have their priorities right,” said Rahul Easwar, activist.
“Congress has been asking for saboot after saboot, now you show us what documents did Arnab leak? We want to see saboot. Rahul Gandhi should produce the evidence, he can’t shoot and scoot,” declared Major Gaurav Arya, a Republic TV consulting editor.
NDTV India, Ravish Kumar also discussed the `Arnab Chat’ leak fiasco. He asked whether the government is running a news channel and providing it ‘content’ and if in return, the channel was driving political agendas.
Kumar pointed out, “It has been two days since Congress has been asking questions — but the BJP remains silent.” He noted the minimal coverage of the chat leaks by Indian media and asked why channels are shying away from addressing this matter.
Times Now’s Navika Kumar shifted focus and discussed the ‘deradicalisation’ of Kashmiri youth on #IndiaAgainstIslamistHate. Claiming that moderate clerics had come forward to rescue youth from the clutches of Pakistani proxies in the Valley, Kumar questioned the effect of such efforts on militant groups and some politicians.
Political analyst Majid Hyderi was skeptical: “Every sufi is not ‘genuine’, A humble request to the ulemma’s — after the Friday prayers spend your time telling the Bajrang Dal that there is nothing like Love Jihad.”
Gaurav Bhatia BJP hit back, “PM Modi knew that once Article 370 is abrogated, it would result in better integration.” Bhatia implied that the ‘deradicalisation’ is a result of this move.
With the 10th round of talks between the farmers and the governments failing once again, CNN News 18 anchor Anand Narasimhan talked about the continuing deadlock over the farm laws.
Abhishek Banerjee, columnist and scientist was critical of the protests: “The farmers are showing arrogance, both the government and the Supreme Court have bent over to meet their demands. They are trying to impose mob rule in the country.”
Anchor Anurag Dixit came with a News Nation “exclusive”, where he asked — “Was Veer Savarkar a patriot or a traitor?”, a reference to the row over Savarkar’s portrait in the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council’s photo gallery.
The debate only discussed Savarkar’s patriotism and how he has been “repeatedly used by some political parties” to gain votes. Savarkar’s grandson was a panelist on the show.
“Congress and Samajwadi Party have ideological differences with Savarkar. Calling him an anti-nationalist just because a party or individual doesn’t agree with his Hindutva ideology is absolutely wrong,” commented Ranjit Savarkar.
Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it
India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.
But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.
ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.