Affected by allegations of compromising editorial ethics, Arnab Goswami writes open letter


Times Now’s Editor-in-Chief, Arnab Goswami, had recently received social media roasting for his alleged fixed interview with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Affected by adverse impact his and the channel’s credibility, Arnab has now taken to what appears to be his first ever open letter clarifying his stand on the charges of compromising the ethics of journalism.

Also Read | The curious case of Arnab Goswami and his selective loss of voice

Arnab has responded to the points raised by’s editor-in-chief, Rifat Jawaid, in his opinion piece on the journalist’s interview.

Rifat, in his piece, had questioned Arnab’s repeated use of Mr Prime Minister (Five times in one question) while also drawing parallel with his earlier interview with the Congress Vice President, Rahul Gandhi.


While Arnab has desperately sought to rubbish charges of compromising the editorial ethics, he’s not answered why he didn’t grill prime minister on several contentious issues including Rs 15 lakh, politics of polarisation, corruption and economy.

Arnab wrote this open letter for Business World website.

You can read the full letter below. We leave it to the audience to decide if they find the clarification satisfactory.

“On Monday morning, a little before noon, I started my interview with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The first news flashes started getting aired on the channel after 2 pm. By 4 pm we had released the first run of clips and promos, and the first full airing of the interview at 6 pm was a precursor to the super prime time airing of the full episode of Frankly Speaking at 9 pm.

At 9.30 pm that evening, my digital desk told me the interview hashtag #PMspeakstoArnab had crossed 1 billion potential impressions on Twitter. Our friends at Facebook told us they were seeing unprecedented traction, and that the kind of video downloads was greater than a Hollywood blockbuster. Both the global social media giants put out press releases, and our lines were crashing in the newsroom with calls congratulating us for the interview.

Next morning, the Prime Ministers interview dominated the entire national media. I wasn’t surprised at all. After all, from NSG to China, Pakistan to Rajan, Swamy to inflation, 2019 to Uttar Pradesh and the politics of polarisation, rising unemployment to the parliament logjam, the possible passage of GST to the numbers in the Rajya Sabha, black money and the Rs 15 lakh in every bank account promise, the interview had covered it all. And covered it so exhaustively in fact that ignoring the newsiness of the interview by not publishing it ran the risk of missing the big story of the day. And so everyone in the national media, on print, TV and digital followed it. Whether they did so grudgingly or not doesn’t matter.

Next evening, the Chinese government reacted to the interview. And on Wednesday, the Pakistan government through Sartaj Aziz responded to the Prime Ministers charge of dual power centres in Islamabad and Rawalpindi. By this time with about 1.4 billion impressions on twitter, about over a million video views and 10.2 million impressions on Facebook , trending globally for 8 hours on Twitter and making global headlines by being quoted across the world, it was clear this was the biggest interview in terms of reach and impact for at least the last 5 years. It was, simply, massive on a scale we hadn’t imagined.

Last evening, in a social gathering, the editorially inclined proprietor of a newspaper that has run a campaign against the interview came across and congratulated me heartily. He said that this was not just a coup, but an interview that spanned every subject in so much detail that in terms of journalistic impact, it was an inflection point. I of course avoided asking him why it seemed his Lutyens Delhi based editors were reacting as if a calamity had hit them.

For the last ten years, Newshour and Frankly Speaking have defined the news agenda in India. From Lalitgate to CWG, every big news story and expose has broken on the channel. Frankly Speaking has scooped every big interview, from Rahul Gandhi to Mr Modi, and that is because the protagonists and participants know that we attract a far greater viewership than all other channels put together.

For me, working far away from the machinations and intrigue of Lutyens journalism, the collective outrage of Lutyens journalists at the fact that I got the interview is amusing. One of them, a has-been anchor who desperately lobbies for an opportunity to be invited on my Newshour debates, even put out a tweet asking why the prime minister chose to give an interview to me and not hold a press conference. Embarrassed by the angry reactions, she deleted the tweet later. I thought her question was intellectually disjointed. Across the world, the first exclusive interviews are given to anchors and channels who command viewership. Not to those who nobody watches. Period.

Finally, there were some ridiculous questions on my tone. Was I soft? Why didn’t I raise my voice like on Newshour? Why did I keep referring to the Prime Minister as “Mr Prime Minister”? Three answers should silence this industry that obsesses about me. First, I used the same tone with Rahul Gandhi. If this industry is disappointed with how he let them down, its not my problem. Second, Frankly Speaking is an interview and The Newshour is a debate, both are therefore different styles and formats. And finally, “Mr Prime Minister” is the most appropriate reference point when you are speaking to the Prime Minister.

I don’t really need to explain all this. But I have written this down because I want the industry that has nothing to do but write about me to calm down and get composure.

Eventually, all of us will be judged by what we do.

Not by how elegantly we troll on social media and its satellites.”


  1. A rather pathetic attempt to whitewash the hammering he got on his pathetic obeisance to his interviewee. ……did the interview cover all those topics mentioned in this attempt? And what is the PM supposed to have said to fifteen lakhs per person,polarisation, sedition charges Godhra, NSG, et al.?? Perhaps all that was lost in the din we are used to normally. ..

  2. He’s an antithesis to what a good anchor should be…..selective witch hunting has undone him….and his credibility. .The letter is a pathetic attempt at whitewashing the blatant and shamelessly biased approach. …..

  3. 15 Lakhs Comment was a comparison of the amount of Black Money, Arnab is not a cheap journalist so he understood the context then and there!!

    • ” Why does the PM give exclusives to chosen Talking Heads instead of holding press conferences ? ” , was a question posed to the PM ! Why is arnab responding for the PM like his spokesperson ?

      Worldwide , in democracies ,even publications with low circulation are allowed to ask questions of their leaders. High viewership and circulation are immature arguments. The TRP’s of hindi news channels far exceeds the english channels.
      The Whitehouse press corps consists of journalists from different media organizations .Some have very little viewership but even they can ask questions from the President.

      Of course it is not arnab’s fault that the PM does not hold press conferences . But if his questions were pre-approved by the PMO , then people are justified to question the news-anchor’s servility .

    • Even that comparison made by the PM , with regard to the amount of black money was absurd. 15 Lakhs per person translates to $ 25,000 per Indian. That is equivalent to $ 30 Trillion Dollars.
      That is greater than India’s combined GDP of the last 30 years. It is absurd to claim this kind of black money has been looted from India and is stashed abroad. No evidence has ever been offered to substantiate his ridiculous claim.

  4. Its hilarious how he has shown the exact same face in this letter as well.Writes an open letter on the allegations against him as the topic but instead raves about the number of views and tags for most part and finally ends up lying. He never asked any question which would catch Modi in an awkward position and make him drink “Waatar”. Apart from that he goes on to praise him about making fun of an opposition party? Yeah great journalism! Unsurprisingly his fellow blind bhakts supported him by using an loud(just like him) hastag #ArnabSlapsShobha. Sad times for Indian media!

  5. He is a proxy agent of BJP and Modi….waiting for a day when Modi agrees to be interviewed by Ravish Kumar or Karan Thapar. (But I know such day will never come)

  6. Asking the PM to appear for an open unscripted press conference isn’t seeking exclusive favours & certainly not intellectually disjointed. And as Modi hasn’t confirmed if there will be any exclusives to other channels, therefore it’s intellectually dishonest for Arnab to write it as the first. It should be noted Modi has appeared twice on his & none at anywhere else so the charge of quid pro quo is valid. And Arnab didn’t follow up any questions which is something he knows therefore didn’t find it fit to even mention. There’s lots he could have spoken but didn’t like Mallya, Lalitgate etc but that may be asking too much. And it’s not just sikular journos but even BJPs attacker in chief Swamy who saw it fit to call him. Modi’s spokesman. What then? Any exclusive interview will invite reactions from foreign govts but that’s irrelevant to the charges on Arnab. Hes being very dishonest & defensive here. He’s been rattled like never before. Seems like he’s been caught in the act!

  7. I was watching Arnob from quite some time. In every interview and debate he used to draw a line and everyone speaking against it was ashamed and ripped by Arnob. I hope he might have watched the ” Devils Advocate” an interview of Modi with Karan Thapar. Modi ran away during the interview. If Arnob could silence UP govt over M Ikhlaqs unfortunate lynching, why didn’t he asked Modi about the hate mongers present in his party. Arnob has a very good habit of raising issues why didn’t he asked about the sadhvi and Swamy. If this interview was not fixed one why didn’t Modi again went for “Devils Advocate” and cleared his earlier deteriorated image. Why won’t people in democracy raise a question for the selectivity of news channel. Modi has been claiming himself as people’s PM, why was it difficult for him to give a press conference instead of choosing Times now.
    As for the viewership is concerned BJP’s hindutva agenda will offcourse draw attention of majority as well as minority.
    At last for Arnob, ” A fool in millions is no big surprise”.

  8. After Lalitgate, Arnab had gone on leave or in hiding bcoz some bjp top leaders had sued Arnab for defamation. After resuming office Arnab has completely changed. He has converted from a secular journalist to a Chaddi. I don’t understand why he has started licking boots of top bjp leaders.

  9. What a shame! First this guy bends backwards and makes a joke of an interview wherein the net result was that the PM himself came across as a weak, directionless and clueless on major issues. It was hilarious to see Arnab “blushing” and “guffawing” and acting all “coy” as one of my friends aptly put it…”Arnab aise behave kar raha tha jaise usko ladkewale dekhne aaye hain.” This is the same guy who has been bad mouthing everyone. He has been a closet sanghi all along pretending to be a journalist. He has spoiled the atmosphere and the polite journalist discourse by screaming, yelling, demeaning, maligning people in debates and discussion. It is a disgrace to civilized journalism. And here this guy acts all coy and soft and peddles even softer questions to the PM who is all is a jumlebaaz and has failed in every aspect of governance. And to people who are saying that he was interviewing the PM and showed respect etc. etc..blah..blah… just one question… Wasn’t Manmohan Singh the PM too? Hypocrites, liars and cheats…and Arnab is one of them too.

  10. Arnab i think you lost credibility. you forgot interviews that you have taken in past with Manmohan Singh, Raj thackeray, Asaad owaisi, etc. That how you are counter questioning them. After resuming office Arnab has completely changed. He has converted from a secular journalist to a Chaddi. I don’t understand why he has started licking boots of top bjp leaders.

  11. What a pathetic approach of a person caught with his pants down by the intelligent observers of India. But this fellow seems to challenge this very intelligence of the people. He sat in this so called interview as a dumbo & let Man Ki Baat with video footage take place! The statement “Mr. PM your speech was so good and you were even joking” is a question? It is more than obvious that this anchor is nothing more than a paid presstitute of a political party & working hard to achieve his goal of being a director of some national institution. Best not to view his channel!

  12. Goodness,why all this fuss about him being this and that.Ignore the man and his pranks.Afterall who takes him or his talk shows seriously.Its circus he conducts every night, at least a little bit of time pass taking one away from the seriousness of country’s political issues. I am afraid responding to crticisim , Arnab may take to upright and serious journalism and we lose the fun. Let the show go on with joker in the driving seat.

  13. What’s the big fuss about Arnab.Leave him alone yaar,dont have to take him seriously.He is the joker around town.Let the show go on with the Joker in the ring.After all,his prime time talk shows entertain us taking us away from other serious and objective talk shows.