Republic TV founder Arnab Goswami has hit out at The Indian Express newspaper for its stand on the freedom of speech in the wake of the controversy surrounding the fake reporting by The Wire over Meta.
Indian Express recently wrote a scathing editorial on The Wire scandal after the news portal was forced to take down its fake stories on Meta and issue a public apology. Titled Indian Express editorial on The Wire story and the police raids: A tale of two, The Indian Express referred to the arrest of Goswami by the then Uddhav Thackeray government two years ago.
It wrote in its editorial, “Two years ago, on the watch of a Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress dispensation in Maharashtra, policemen barged into the home of TV anchor Arnab Goswami after the government re-opened an old case — the arrest spectacle was the message. Two months ago, the Income Tax department that reports to the BJP-led Centre raided the Centre for Policy Research, one of the country’s most respected public policy think tanks, and IPSMF, a foundation that supports independent digital media platforms. The police and agencies like the I-T Department, ED and CBI, sometimes act in concert to subdue and intimidate. It is in this setting — of a take-no-prisoners government and an FIR-happy police — that The Wire, a news website, made a grave mistake. And, in the aftermath, self-righteously continues to compound it.”
Taking a dig at The Indian Express’ stand, Arnab Goswami-owned Republic TV posted a series of tweets as it took potshots at the newspaper. Republic TV wrote, “Interesting that @IndianExpress has ‘condemned’ action against our Editor-in-Chief 2 years after Uddhav’s govt arrested him as part of the biggest conspiracy against the media. Ironic that the same portal ran stories with blanket ‘source based’ quotes from Param Bir’s cops.”
It added, “Has @IndianExpress forgotten it was the one publishing screaming headlines of all fabrications of Uddhav govt against Republic & our Editor-in-Chief? Standing up for freedom of the press can’t be an occasional, convenient & selective cause, as it’s become for Lutyens Media.”
“Public record will remind @IndianExpress that they almost justified Arnab’s arrest in a case where the Supreme Court later called out weaponisation of state machinery. They wrote, “Arnab Goswami arrested: For Naik’s family, arrests ‘first step in battle for justice”. We even had to point out to @IndianExpress
with a legal notice how they acted as judge, jury & executioner in breach of journalistic ethics & absolute facts while reporting the TRP case. Hypocrisy on press freedom is the embedded rot in Indian media now & calls for introspection,” it wrote in its subsequent tweets.
Republic TV further added that while ‘the truth triumphed in that case, and in every case, a section of the Indian media must do some soul-searching on their role in being the true Fourth Pillar of Indian Democracy– irrespective of ideologies, political views and their notions of what is ‘liberal’.”
In January last year, Goswami had served legal notice to The Indian Express for carrying a report on the Mumbai Police’s charge-sheet in the TRP Scam case. In his legal notice sent through Phoenix Legal law firm, Goswami had expressed his disappointment accusing the Indian Express of having ‘acted as a judge, jury and executioner in breach of all journalistic ethics and against the well-settled law.”