For years, journalist Arnab Goswami, shouted from the roof top on probity and transparency and lectured everyone on morality. His guests were expected to answer everything he asked on his show because that’s what the nation wanted to know. He gave grief to those who sought to avoid his direct and pointed questions.
However, Goswami appears to have performed a spectacular U-turn on his homily. Don’t practice what you preach is the new mantra for Goswami, who was once nation’s self-proclaimed conscience-keeper.
Two days ago, the former Times Now journalist, began to trend on Twitter because of his interview to Man’s World magazine, which ran a cover story on him.
The magazine carried an in-depth interview of Goswami, who explained in great details about his new project, Republic TV.
However, the magazine revealed that Goswami’s PR team had told the interviewer not to ask him two questions including the ownership pattern of Republic TV and its association with the NDA MP, Rajeev Chandrasekhar.
Man’s World magazine’s website wrote, “On the disclosure side, the questions in this interview (except the follow-up ones) were vetted by his PR team. We were told to avoid two questions. The first dealt with the ownership of Republic TV and Rajeev Chandrasekhar, on whether the MP’s closeness to the BJP militates against the independent character of the channel. Secondly, about Goswami’s own position vis-à-vis the legal fight between Chandrasekhar and The Wire, over the aforementioned story. Our question was whether it was healthy for a democracy if the press was muzzled in any way. Goswami did, however, obliquely talk about his issues with The Wire.”
On 13 January, we had reported that among those who’d invested in Republic TV were Rajeev Chandrasekhar, an NDA MP in Rajya Sabha and Mohandas Pai, a former executive of Infosys.
Although Chandrasekhar identifies himself as an independent MP, his association with the BJP-led NDA is not a secret anymore. He had actively campaigned for the NDA in Kerala assembly elections in May last year.
Chandrasekhar’s ‘independence’ had also come under intense scrutiny last year when an email sent by Amit Gupta, the Chief Operating Officer of Jupiter Capital, was leaked to media. Chandrasekhar owns his media ventures that includes Asianet in Kerala and Suvarna News and Kannada Prabha in Karnataka.
The content of Gupta’s email meant for editorial staff of media outlets owned by Chandrasekhar had said that “all editorial talent to be hired” should be “right of centre in his / her editorial tonality,” “pro-India and pro-Military,” and they must be “well familiarised with his thoughts on nationalism and governance.”
Mohandas Pai too has been an outspoken supporter of the BJP and its Hindutva ideologies. His Twitter timeline is replete with posts supporting the ideologies of the saffron party. He was also a frequent guest on Times Now’s flagship programme, Newshour, hosted by Goswami.