Arnab Goswami’s Republic TV, founded with the help of BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar, once again refused to broadcast an on-air apology as directed by the broadcasting watchdog, NBSA.
The NBSA had found the channel guilty of branding an innocent man, A Singh, thug, lewd, cheap, vulgar, sexist pervert on its show on 9 January this year. Goswami had launched a blistering attack against A Singh by wrongly accusing of harassing one of his reporters, Shivani Gupta, who was covering a rally, called by Dalit activist and MLA, Jignesh Mevani.
Singh’s wife, Pratishtha Singh, also a columnist with Janta Ka Reporter, had approached the broadcasting watchdog, which ruled in her favour and directed Republic TV to broadcast an on-air apology on 7 September at 9 pm. The channel was also given an option to air the full screen apology on 14 September if it failed to do so on 7 September.
However, on 14 September, the channel once again did not air any apology. Sources told Janta Ka Reporter that Republic TV had appealed against the NBSA’s order. The channel reportedly appealed on 3 September with the NBSA giving them another two weeks to respond on this matter further.
The NBSA in its order had ordered Republic TV to broadcast the following lines as part of its full screen apology:
“On the debate ‘Jignesh Flop Show’ aired on Republic TV on 09.01.2018, at 9 pm, this channel had circled the visual of Mr A Singh (while running pictures of its news editor Ms Shivani Gupta) as targeting and intimidating her. On a complaint by A Singh, News Broadcasting and Standard Authority has passed an order dated 30.08.2018 holding that Mr Arnab Goswami, who anchored the programme, was not justified in using the words ‘I am going to show these crude, lewd hyenas/ show the dirty faces of lewd, cheap, vulgar, sexist pervert and Indian goons’ with reference to the complainant. News Broadcasting Standards furtehr held that the channel had violated the code of ethics and the broadcasting standards of the NBA and the Specific Guidelines Covering Reportage and should, therefore, air an apology to Mr A Singh. Accordingly, we, hereby, apologise to Mr A Singh for wrongly referring to him as lewd, cheap, vulgar, sexist pervert and Indian goon.’
The channel, for its part, has defended its action maintaining that Singh indeed harassed Gupta. Immediately after the NBSA’s decision, Gupta had taken to Twitter stating that this would set a dangerous precedent for future.