NDTV’s Ravish Kumar has launched a stunning attack against Arnab Goswami by accusing the Republic TV founder of bringing ‘vulgarity’ into Indian journalism. Kumar, however, criticised the Mumbai Police of hounding other staff members of Republic TV in the TRP scam for the fault of their owner, Arnab Goswami. This came after the Editors’ Guild of India issued a statement stating that it was ‘concerned about the FIRs filed against journalists of Republic TV, which is under probe for allegedly manipulating TRPs.’ This came days after Goswami targeted Salman Khan with the ‘Bigg Boss of drugs’ jibe.
In a Facebook post, Kumar said that it was wrong to hound the entire editorial team of Republic TV for Goswami’s fault. “It’s quite possible that people are feeling stuck in the current situation. But why must they be punished for the fault of one anchor and the owner? The said anchor has brought shame to journalism. He’s established vulgarity into journalism.”
Kumar was reacting to the statement issued by the Editors’ Guild of India, which said that it was ‘pained to see the unedifying spectacle of hundreds of FIRs being filed against journalists of Republic TV, which is under probe for allegedly manipulating TRPs and spreading discontent against the Mumbai police.’
“We do not wish to influence the probe by the authorities, even if we recognise it has the potential to bring in much needed transparency on the manipulation of popularity, and creation of “proceeds of crime”- as claimed by the police; but the victimization of the journalists should immediately stop. The use of arbitrary state power is not and has never been in the interests of working journalists,” the statement read.
On Friday, Goswami’s Republic TV alleged that the Mumbai Police had sent a notice ‘effectively seeking each and every detail of the Republic news desk, including addresses of the technicians of Republic TV, IDs and passwords of newsroom software, roster details of its journalists, and has given a time-period of two days to furnish this, in a shameful trespass of free speech.’ Goswami said that he was disturbed by the development and planned to approach the I&B ministry and home ministry headed by Amit Shah.
He said in a statement, “This has never happened in the history of media and I hope it doesn’t happen to anyone else. I hope we understand with absolute clarity that what the Mumbai Police has done. The Mumbai Police has demanded login access of our newsroom. Now how can we give login access into the editorial operations of the news channel which gets the license of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting? If Param Bir Singh wants access to the newsroom, I am afraid he will have to approach the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.”
Goswami and Ravish Kumar were colleagues at NDTV before the former left the organisation founded by Prannoy Roy to join Times Now TV channel as its editor-in-chief. In 2017, Goswami left Times Now to launch his own TV channel, Republic TV.
Goswami and his TV channel have been embroiled in the TRP scam unearthed by the Mumbai Police. The Republic TV founder has denied the allegations and has threatened to sue Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh.
Goswami had also triggered a controversy by launching repeated attacks on Bollywood actor Salman Khan for his silence on the death of Sushant Singh Rajput. He had also used disparaging jibes such as ‘senior citizen’ and ‘Bigg Boss of drugs‘ for Salman, prompting the famous actor to take an indirect dig at the TV anchor.