hese days most of the television channels have become mouthpieces to some agenda-driven political parties. One of them is Republic TV takes it to the next level. They defend BJP’s PoV more boldly than BJP MPs themselves.
People have called me both a ‘Bhakt’ and a ‘Libtard’ from the opposite end of the spectrum. Since 2014 assembly elections I voted for the BJP not because I am Bhakt but as a voter, I thought of giving them a chance to deliver what they promised. As a journalist, my duty is to question the authority and government and that I am doing quite well, but when I look at mainstream media it scares me.
Same Arnab Goswami used to be so good when he was ripping apart people from all sides including BJP. I always wanted to be one like him and I am sure he was the crush of most young generation journalists once upon a time. But now it’s not only disheartening but also disgusting to watch him live. We lost the knight-in-shining-armor of the Indian media or perhaps he never was one.
During his stint in Times Now Arnab had risen to become one of the most powerful opinion-makers in the country. His power came from the extremely successful image he had managed to create among his audience – a fearless, patriotic journalist of unshakable moral convictions. he was a journalist who rose above the fray of party politics and was ready to take on anyone on anything. The urban Indian middle class – his audience- loved him as their vigilante hero. But Arnab’s style of vigilante journalism crucially depended on painting all issues in black and white terms. This a tricky business in the real world filled with shades of grey. There is a delicate balance that one must maintain. After his move to Republic, Arnab has quickly made several false moves and upset this balance.
Republic was started with much hype around it and it lived up to its anticipations. At one point or the other, those who followed Republic TV would have felt that maybe the channel was a little biased in its approach towards news. As far as I am concerned, I was thrilled when Arnab launched his news venture but gradually the excitement settled down to dust, and later on what I realized is, in Times Now, he was the Editor-in-chief so he did whatever he wanted to uphold standards of journalism. Now coming to Republic, he is the chief investor in it. So, his view of news will change and we all need to accept that one of the main sponsors and partners is BJP leader. The channel is most popular among BJP supporters and you will find most of the right-wingers get a chance to speak on his panels and other is called for getting humiliated or attacked. Interestingly, people go there to get bashed. One can see the bipolar disorder in this anchor very clearly.
Journalism is a very powerful platform through which even a minor issue can reach to masses but unfortunately, it isn’t happening so at present. These are the days where channels have a political backup and are driven by TRP ratings leading to a lack of credibility and transparency. His misplaced nationalism can verge on the comical. Once he got after a Caucasian doctor because a super-bug had been named New Delhi. Goswami argued with mad logic, was racist. The doctor explained that it was medical precedent to name a bug after the place where it originated and there was no agenda. Goswami kept shouting at him until the man got up and left. At these moments, one feels that there is a genuine loss of control that Goswami is predisposed to while on air. He is tricked by his own act, over and over again.
The first look at Goswami’s channel, Republic TV reminded me of Russia Today, the Kremlin-backed state propaganda channel that pretends not to be one. In fact, it’s worse. RT doesn’t have Russian flags waving in every frame. The ads on the Republic did. One begins to wonder about the ethics of using the national flag to push what is ultimately a big business venture, streaming live on Hotstar to millions of subscribers. This is about money and profits, not the nation. Republic harnesses a national symbol, which belongs to everyone, and yokes it to its personal end of profitability. In the commercials for Republic, the viewer is talked down to. There’s nothing about how the news delivery will be different, only a set of buzzwords to the citizen. It’s always a campaign-based topic. Always set of dos and don’ts, laid down by a man who calls himself the voice of a new India. His research on any subject is limited to some papers he holds in hand with matching panelists, selective targets, and impatient banging on the news desk. just a monologue of the anchor who keeps reminding himself that he has to declare that he knows the best on every subject, insulting of some of the panelists.
Hope the young promising journalists don’t get trapped into thinking that these Performances / Egotism is the only gateway to success.
I am sure one day the people of our country will realize the kind of damage these channels are doing to our society & destroying the Fourth Estate.
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