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Arnab Goswami vs Congress: Drama for TV ratings or attack on free speech?

Republic TV editor Arnab Goswami has been granted protection by the SC for three weeks from any “coercive action” by the police in relation to FIRs filed against him.

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The Supreme Court Friday granted Republic TV editor Arnab Goswami three weeks protection from any “coercive action” by police in relation to a clutch of FIRs filed against him for inciting hate and criticising Congress President Sonia Gandhi. This comes a day after Goswami alleged that he and his wife were attacked in a Mumbai parking lot. He has also accused Sonia Gandhi of orchestrating the attack.

ThePrint asks: Arnab Goswami vs Congress: Drama for TV ratings or attack on free speech?

Arnab keeps spreading venom through divisive debates, this can’t be freedom of expression

Pawan Khera
National spokesperson, Congress

There seems to be a notion in the minds of the current ruling dispensation, of which Arnab Goswami is one of the founding members that democracy is a theatre and the one who constantly supplies drama, shall rule.

Whether Narendra Modi learns from Arnab Goswami or teaches him is not relevant here. In their compulsive need not just for theatrics but also to be the centre of their own drama, they end up becoming mirror images of each other. As Marlon Brando said, “An actor’s a guy who, if you ain’t talking about him, ain’t listening.”

What Arnab does on TV is not journalism. It is not even “bad journalism” to quote the Press Council of India. It is a distorted, convoluted form of cheap propaganda that can at best be entertainment for some, if no other toon channel is working.

Mass entertainers are nothing without mass adulation. Covid-19 has stolen the thunder of those who depended on bluff and bluster for constant reaffirmation from the masses. Psychoanalysts will attribute this tendency to a pathological condition that comes from a deeply felt realisation of ones inadequacies and fear of insignificance.

Day in and day out, from his bully pulpit, Arnab Goswami keeps spreading venom through divisive debates, hate filled diatribes and cheap dramatics. Trying to give communal colour to the Palghar tragedy was one such very dangerous attempt. Apart from being a lie, it had a potential to lead to large-scale communal violence. This cannot be and is not freedom of expression.

The attack on Arnab Goswami is clearly an attack on free speech

Abhijit Iyer Mitra
Senior fellow, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies

The attack on Arnab Goswami is a clear attack on free speech. Congress governments across states do not simply file FIRs against an individual for the sake of TV drama. Having been at the receiving end of a similar mass filing, I can tell you it takes coordination and direction. That several Congress governments decided to file a plethora of charges against him, based on his attack on Sonia Gandhi smacks not just of coordination but also direction from the very top.

The visuals of the attack on him are disturbing. How was it that a bunch of 5 to 7 men were able to go around Mumbai? One of them was an India Youth Congress official of Sion which is 7-8 kilometers away from Arnab’s office in Lower Parel, was able to drive with a bunch of men without once being stopped in a lockdown also says a lot. Add to this at least two Congress chief ministers Ashok Gehlot and Bhupesh Baghel have condemned Goswami in addition to several former cabinet ministers. I understand many people don’t like Arnab, but trying to make fun of what is a clear sequence and accretion of events pointing to the coordinated use of state power against an individual, is fascism. Yes that’s what it is. No caveats.

Attacking Sonia won’t bring TRPs for Arnab, he needs a bigger ‘villain’ now

Kaveree Bamzai
Senior journalist, author and former editor of India Today

Arnab Goswami had transformed a long time ago from a serious journalist to prime time entertainer, the host and chief guest of his own reality show. So it comes as no surprise that he has orchestrated an entire campaign centred around himself, portraying himself as prime victim. In that he is taking a leaf out of the playbook of India’s most powerful, who continue to play the outsider even when firmly ensconced in the power zone they love to scoff at–Lutyens Delhi. It is a clever ploy and it almost always works with a large population which feels disenchanted and disgruntled. But it is also unethical, given his own elite background and considerable privileges. Also unethical is his hatred for NDTV, his home for many years, the channel that first made him a star.

The question is wrongly framed. It is not Arnab Goswami vs Congress. It should be Arnab Goswami vs journalism. Not good or bad journalism, as the Press Council framed it, but journalism. There was a time when a debate about Sonia Gandhi aka Antonia Maino as Arnab Goswami likes to call her, would have ensured prime time ratings. Now, in a post Corona Virus world where the citizen has been cut adrift of the state and its appurtenances, neither she nor her party is relevant. Either he needs to look for a villain bigger than Sonia (as he addresses her with such familiarity) or fire himself. After all, Donald Trump did so, and look where he landed eventually. Politics is the last refuge of the reality star.

Don’t agree with Arnab? Change the channel. No place for physical assault in a civilised society

Smita Sharma
Senior independent journalist 

No physical attack or act of violence against any individual should ever be acceptable in a civilised society. If you do not agree with a writer, artist, activist or journalist – argue based on logic and facts, unsubscribe, switch channels or if there is legal evidence to counter some reports, challenge it in a court of law, but no one should take law in their hands. Arnab Goswami’s allegations need a serious and timely probe so that the facts are established. If required his security should also be reviewed.

But freedom of press and free speech should be applicable fairly to all, including journalists booked under UAPA to sedition for asking questions to those in power and positions of authority. Journalists in small towns, conflict zones and those reporting from Kashmir have faced tremendous challenges, been legally and physically threatened, harmed or harassed for doing their job. Shrill polarising debates driven by the urge to grab eyeballs or resonate preferred political and/or ideological agendas has turned most of prime time television today into a circus with dangerous consequences for the country. Unfortunately what many practice in news studios today has little to do with journalism or free speech and more to do with click baiting through frenzied drama.

Also read: Can Modi govt ask companies not to sack workers due to Covid crisis or should firms decide?

By Pia Krishnankutty, journalist at ThePrint

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  1. Arnab, the Indian Nation wants to know is your casket filled by inciting communal drama on TV. You are a certainly a pawn of the folks who funded your channel. You remember the interview with Raj Thackeray when he cornered you and opened your can of worm by stating that you ‘Arnab’ brings two parties on your debate, one in your favor and the other where you feel it your Assamese birth rite to throw filth and accusations without even giving the party to speak, you just cut them off your pugnacious nature, Raj Thackeray told you to stop this drama and your response was ‘Nahey Tho’ what an Anchor you are, this is challenging and then you later said to Mr. Raj Thackeray ‘Are your threatening”.
    In your recent stage drama your reporter said ‘Why are they making him to walk’, what does your reporter or you think that you can swish off with your Maserati to the police station..NO…BIG cannot, have respect, have humility but not TRP which you aim at the cost of the Nstion.
    Shame on you, you are not worthy of the Education that you have had, you have made mockery of the Indian penal code, mockery of yourself and taken an advantage of the channel called ‘Republic TV’. It was only because of a political backing you were allowed to uses the term ‘Republic’.

    The Nation wants to know Arnab, when will you get a ticket to stand in the election at your birth place ‘ASSAM’?

    Write back if you have the decency to accept that you are nothing more than a narcissist a person deriving erotic gratification from admiration of his or her own physical or mental attributes. Put your face in your own toilet bowl and stay there.


  2. If you have courage to say Arnab is bjp nd rss guy then you should have courage to accept that you are also slave of congress and left .
    If congress can file case to arnab then bjp people should file cases against ndtv the wire the quint the print and many more left media .
    Conclusion you are sold too

  3. NCP was created as anti Soniaji Congress.Where is the Maratha Pawar Sb to appose Palghar Christian missionaries…..The attackers of Shivaji homeland public.
    The Hindu Balasaheb would have buried the Palghar Christians by now.But Uddhavaji the Dratrashtra is blind for power and love of Aditya the Yuvaraj.
    Very good that the Passionate Arnabji feels for India and Hindus though he is from faraway Assam.Hats off to him hu for his intelligence and command over logic and language.

  4. If there is still justice in India. Then this guy must pay for his words which he spoke in name of “freedom of expression”.
    This isnt way a reporter should behave especially with somebody who given almost her entire life, sacrificed loved ones.
    Arnab goswami has to be punished for 21st April VENOM. I pray God too.!

    • Dear Mr Nair
      So sonia gandhi has sacrificed so much .poor lady a widow as husband killed by LTTE
      Mother in law by Sikhs.
      Rest all 1.35 billion over the years havent sacrificed. Any thing
      So we have rajiv setu indira gandhi nehru etc .even Sanjay gandhi national park
      Their mistakes cost them their life

  5. What a rubbish headline “drama for tv rating…….” of this post.
    Is that a drama raising voice against lynching of sadhus who were killed brutely in front of police.
    The editors should first check sentiments,feelings before creating headlines..

  6. What a rubbish headline “drama for tv rating…….” of this post.
    Is that a drama raising voice against lynching of sadhus who were killed brutely in front of police.
    The editors should first check sentiments,feelings before creating headlines.

  7. Shocking to see & hear ab raving & ranting about Mrs SoniaGandhi for the “alleged “ attack on him……. he has run out of subject for his debates. The story he has concocted has large discrepancies…… in one he is supposedly attacked in a parking lot & another in JAMES BOND style on the highway he ducks & was still able to drive….doesn’t tell his wife to do the same & poor thing was a “sitting duck “ my sympathies Mrs Goswami for his insensitivity. He did not know the name of his security guard !!!! Why did they not bring the boys with them….. just let them off…….&later they you mean just breezed into the police station to confess…!!!

  8. Congress is the past master of every dirty trick used in politics. Congress has the longest and widest experience in this department. Absorbing criticism is not at all there in congress culture from Nehru’s time. The issue is not bad journalism or reality show of Arnab Goswami. The issue is intolerance shown by congress. Recall that congress accused India and Hindus of intolerance about four years back, and quite successfully so that even Obama felt obliged to lecture India? INC stands for Intolerant Nepotist Congress.

  9. We are a country rich with enlightened and progressive thinkers enough in numbers to take either side of controversy across the topics not sparing any opportunity.
    AG is known for hyper journalism for ages but mistimed his aggression this time it appears.

  10. Arnab ‘s family belong to BJP, he speaks like a Bjp agent he must be in jail ASAP , such a shameful remark by him on honourable SONIA JI..

  11. The issue is Congress is using intimidation against it’s opponents. e.g

    Brought Impeachment proposal against former CJI Mishra.

    Severe attack through it’s supporters against ex-CJI Gogoi for becoming Rajya Sabha member.

    Bringing hundreds of lawsuits against Arnab Goswami for criticizing Sonia Gandhi and also physically threatening him.

    This is not acceptable in democracy.

  12. Arnab Goswami is an idiotic fool. Does not have ethics and morals of a true journalist like Rajdeep sardesai. He is a pawn of BJP and an arrogant man.He has no standing like international journalist. He should retire and be with Modi and Amit Shah. He has no finesse like a journalist. Gutteral man. Looking stupid and not refined.

  13. Republic TV & Arnab Goswami is full time paid employee by RSS=BJP=MODI.
    He never Raise Questions on MODI & Govt…!!!
    Hindu & Muslims are never problem but TV channels & Medias & RSS=BJP cause of riots & divide.

    ONLY Biased & hate moongers will support Arnab…

  14. Truth in journalism has gone six years ago. Arunab has notified to the world of print media that he belongs to one “party “. Facts can be found and settled down unless you got hand’s in ruling dispensation in a country you will be called not anti a favor. God alone knows what he committed.

  15. The Print is now counting its last days, now as such funding has already been stopped they now have started to smash their heads against the wall to gain something.
    Some days back I believe a sold journalist of this media handle was very efficiently handled by Goswami. He simply Rogered him apart. I wish I could see that happen again.

  16. The views of Pawan Khera are irrelevant here since he is a Sonia Maino man and not expected to give a non biased version of what this episode lóoks like. Both he and Kaveree Banzai have not answered a simple question. How is asking questions to Sonia Gandhi is communal ? If Sonia can shed tears for terrorists killed in Batla house encounter and others who are not Hindus why can’t she condemn the brutal mob lynching by a murderous mob in Palghar where her own police simply handed over the three men to the lynch mob ? Is Sonia above questioning ? Are the lives of 3 men lynched in Palghar any less than those killed in Batla house encounter ? What is this non sense of equating the questioning of Antonio Maino with communalism ? And why should The Print or even the spinesless PCI point fingers at Arnab. He is doing what no other journalist has dared to do in this country ? Question the Gandhi. And Arnab also alluded to the fact that those who ask questions of the family are generally made to vanish but he is of a sterner stuff and won’t be intimidated. Finally to the biased media which is silent on this episode the question is how is that questioning Sonia Gandhi invites physical threats and intimidation ? Is this expected for what was once a national party ? Tomorrow it may be anybody’s else’s turn. Will the Print then remain silent when some of its own is attacked by congress goons OR it feels safe since it is on the congress side so no need to condemn the attack on Arnab and let him face the consequences ? This is third class journalism.

  17. A bargirl who made it big, a fool of a son marketed as a Prince and an alcoholic daughter who looks like her grandmother.
    Gandhis’ …. you are a joke. You are finished. The citizens of Bharat are tired of you.
    Run off to Italy. You still have a chance. Else, within 10 years you will be strung upon the metaphorical pole, like Mussolini was.

    • Arnab is the best entertainer not a journalist. He is CID , CBI , FBI and ETC. Now the fight is not against congress or BJP. But he is thinking that all viewers are fool and don’t have common sense. I would have felt very happy if he would have got a strike from the attackers which was missed.

  18. 1. Liking or not liking is not a question. The fact that the congressis are openly breaking rules ti beat up an excessively vocal journalist is a problem.
    2. Arnab raised the Palghar question at a bad time. The time was not good to blame people or communities for anything. If there are doubts, let the doubting Thomases file FIRs and let the police investigate. Debates can wait for after the pandemic is over.
    3. All Muslims should not be blamed for it. However Tablighi Jamat has been responsible for spreading the COVID to a big extent. Whether by mistake or not only time will tell. However they are a huge reason and denial of that fact is also blatantly wrong. Just not blaming them in order to refrain from creating communal hatred is equally shameful. What is wrong is wrong. It is a pity most Muslims didn’t openly come out and condemn or atleast urge the Tablighis to come up for tests and not run away. The urging only began after the incidence took a slight communal undertone. However no Rahul Gandhi or Sonia Gandhi or Asaduddin Owaisi or Naseeruddin Shah or Abu Azmi ever came up and urged the Tablighis to get quarantined and get their tests done. It could have been done with a very healthy undertone had they voluntarily made responsible statements. Instead they chose to keep quiet.

  19. How much money you got to spread fake news by Italia Mafia, we Hindus stand united by supporting Arnab Goswami.

    Jai Bhavani.

  20. It is telling that the congress joker and Banzai did not once mention the physical attack on Arnab. So freedom of speech and protection against physical violence of journalists depend on which side of the Lutyens cabal you find yourself. The Congress butt licking Joker is expected to respond like he did, but one expected better from Bamzai. Unless she slowly transformed into the former, without us noticing it.

  21. shekhar guptaji namaskar

    ulu ka patha arnab chilla chilla keh bola mai editor guild seh resign kar raha hoon.

    bhai isne poocho iss gadhe ka kya kaam hai editor guild mein.

    editor guild mein patrakaar hote hain, prachar karne vale bahreh ke tatu nahi.

    iss fatu khote badbole koh seena taan kar jawaab doh.

    arre bhaiya kaun sa freedom of press biolate ho gaya.

    jara sa isski gaddi keh seshe pe thap thapa diya, thodi kaali sehahi faink di, toh dekho arnab ne kitna bada drama rach diya.

    bhai yeh hota asli dramebaaz,

    aur saare varisht patrakaar abh arnab ke liyeh pairvahi kar rahe hai. aapki akal kahan goomne chale gayi.

    aap seh agrah hai. iss fatu khote badbole koh seena taan kar jawaab doh.

    aapka carpediem

  22. Why make assumptions and then be again yourself a victim who took to belief your very own assumptions as fact and then become abusive.

  23. Well. Every reader knows whom “The Print” supports. Every media house is sold to the political parties. So is the Print. Look within first.

  24. Journalism in other parts of the world are abided by the ethics of journalism but it is serious to see what is happening in India how can someone fall so low for the sake of viewers attention.

    People like Arnab goswami are the curse for journalism and it is unfortunate to have people like him in the industry.

  25. The Congress, out of power…. is restless, clueless and mindless, suddenly realises importance of freedom of expression…….after all their potshots ….right from Constitution to the layman of India……all these years. It is good to see the Devil read out from Holy scriptures……the proverbial “1000choohe kha kar billi chali Haj ko”…..How true….!!!

  26. Why is Mr Arnab Goswami always anticipating evil from Congress ? His channel Republic is not a news Channel it’s just a platform for him to spread his opinion. Journalism should be free from the influence of any particular political party.

  27. It is a very elite club of Indians who could file a petition in the apex court at 8.07 pm and be heard at 1030 am the next day, afforded substantive relief. Some good will emerge if the decision in this case becomes a legally binding precedent when other, less powerful individuals are harassed by having multiple cases filed against them all over the country. 2. Watched the utterly distasteful, unhinged 45 second rant which is the subject matter of this case. Not just a senior journalist, no educated person brought up in a decent home should behave like this. Unless he is a better actor than SRK, AG seems in need of psychiatric help. After watching Cut the Clutter, maybe Republic TV is haemorrhaging. 3. Had some other journalist done something like this from the other side of the fence, he would be facing sedition charges or UAPA / NSA.

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