‘BJP ally’ Arnab Goswami was recently left red-faced after a representative from his Republic TV approached author Author Aatish Taseer requesting him to take part in a panel discussion on the ‘western media peddling fake news about India.’ Much to his embarrassment, not only did Taseer turn down the request by terming Goswami’s TV channel the greatest ‘source of fake news’, but he also made his email exchange with the Republic TV representative public by asking Goswami to first ‘try and be a better man.’
The email by the Republic TV representative had read, ” Dear Sir, Warm Greetings from all at Republic TV! This is regarding a show tonight on our channel at 10 pm IST with our Editor-in-Chief Mr Arnab Goswami. The topic of our show will focus on western media peddling fake news about India.” We will be grateful if you could spare some time from your busy schedule and participate in our show. Look forward to a positive response.”
Replying to the email from the Republic TV representative, Taseer wrote, “Thank you so much for your interest. Sadly I don’t do panel discussion especially on a subject as ridiculous as this one. You must be fully aware that there is no greater source of fake news than Republic TV. Please send my warmest wishes to Mr Goswami and tell him that he must try and be a better man.”
The surreal exchanges that one’s mornings are made of: @republic — of all places! — was in touch without irony about a panel discussion on the Western media peddling fake news about India. The mind boggles…? pic.twitter.com/PSfPWKXR6h
— Aatish Taseer (@AatishTaseer) February 27, 2020
Taseer had famously written the cover story of Time magazine at the peak of the Indian general elections in May last year by calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi ‘India’s divider-in-chief.’ The Indian government had later stripped him of his OCI status. The Indian ministry of home affairs headed by Amit Shah had alleged that Taseer concealed information about his Pakistani father.
Taseer had also written a moving piece for Time magazine explaining how he expected a reprisal from the Indian government after his cover story critical of PM Modi. He had written, “I had expected a reprisal, but not a severing. While the government did not initially reveal their motivations behind this action, they have now stated their reasons for removing my OCI: “concealed the fact that his late father was of Pakistani origin.” But it is hard not to feel, given the timing, that I was being punished for what I had written.”
Aatish Taseer is the son of late Pakistani politician Salman Taseer and Indian journalist Tavleen Singh.
Last month, when the video of Indian comedian Kunal Kamra heckling Goswami mid-air on-board an IndiGo flight went viral, one of the international news outlets had addressed Goswami as a ‘BJP ally.’