No sane viewer can hold Republic TV or its Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami to standards of objective journalism. The network, since its inception, is well-known for broadcasting fake news and propaganda that aids the Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre and berets all Opposition parties. It was once described quiet funnily by an American journalist friend of mine as “Fox News on bad acid”. Fox News is the same American news channel which, even a few weeks back, was busy accusing the democrats and liberals of blowing the Coronavirus threats out of proportion in the US where more than a million are affected today and over 55,000 deaths have been recorded. Acid is a street term for Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD), a hallucinogenic drug which alters thoughts, feelings and one’s awareness of the surroundings.
So, it is not surprising that as soon as news of the ghastly lynching of three people including two Hindu monks in Palghar, Maharashtra, came in, that Republic TV sought to give the event a communal twist by Goswami howling on primetime, “Do santon ki KHULLE AAM hatya...jis desh ki 80 partishit se zyaada aabaadi HINDU HAI, SANATANI HAI, kya wahan HINDU HONA ek apraadh ho gaya hai?” Instead of looking at the Modi government’s silent and often, not so silent, legitimisation and normalisation of mob violence and lynching, Goswami trained his guns on Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
But it was no civilised criticism backed by facts that Goswami engaged in. Instead, Goswami said outlandish things, accusing Sonia Gandhi of getting the sadhus killed and sending reports to Italy about the same. Not only this, Goswami went on to make bizarre claims that Sonia Gandhi is congratulated for this by people in Italy.
As the viewers watched in disbelief, a large number of Congressmen across the country were justifiably angry at such baseless accusations, mindless vilification and spread of hate speech against the party’s president. Consequently, FIRs were lodged in multiple states in many police stations.
Arnab Goswami and his network have gotten away many times in the past by peddling fake news, spreading hate speech and even without airing apology in spite of express instructions from the National News Broadcasters Authority (NBSA) to do so.
But this time, both him and the network seem to have crossed all limits of civility. The Republic TV network, incidentally, was part funded by Asianet which is primarily funded by BJP leader and former MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar.