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Arnab Goswami – sinning or sinned against?

In his Republic TV, Arnab Goswami has been strongly pointing out several, what he thinks as, irregularities or doubtful intentions by the Government of Maharashtra on a number of issues in recent times

N S Venkataraman Nov 13, 2020
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In his Republic TV, Arnab Goswami has been strongly pointing out several, what he thinks as, irregularities or doubtful intentions by the Government of Maharashtra on a number of issues in recent times.

Of course, he has been conveying his views in clear and strong terms, which make some people think that he is very harsh, unbecoming of a journalist.

Role of police

Certainly, such allegations have not pleased the Maharashtra government.  Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh may think that he has no alternative other than obeying the dictates of his political masters by initiating action against Arnab Goswami. Of course, alternatives are there for a Police Commissioner but it calls for courage of conviction.

In any case, if the Maharashtra government and Mumbai Police Commissioner have been annoyed by the outbursts of Arnab Goswami, the  allegations should have been countered suitably with facts and figures.

Instead of silencing Arnab Goswami by strong explanations and convincing reply, Maharashtra government and the police have sought to silence him by arresting him on another issue, which is a two-year-old closed case.

Certainly, straightaway arresting a person on a closed case, without giving him an opportunity to explain, in total violation of procedures and rule of law. Obviously, with scant regard for proper procedures, police have arrested him.

In dealing with the Arnab Goswami issue, several actions of the Mumbai Police Commissioner is wrong in principle and method and unbecoming of a senior Indian Police Service (IPS) officer.

Silence of journalist fraternity

What is particularly surprising is that other TV media have not protested against the unjust treatment of Arnab Goswami, implying the solidarity amongst the journalists have gone for a toss. The journalists who have not cared to voice their protest about happenings to Arnab Goswami do not seem to realize that they may also be subjected to similar treatment on flimsy charges by politicians in power and the police on a later day.

It is known that the journalists and activists have shouted and protested from the rooftop on several occasions when some journalists have been subjected to unjust treatment in the past. Why are they not using a similar yardstick in the case of Arnab Goswami?

In defence of their stand and attitude, some journalists have said that Arnab Goswami was arrested not as a journalist but as a violator of law in a suicide abetment case. However, this is an excuse worthy of police and politicians in power in Maharashtra and not by journalists, who are expected to take an objective view and remain neutral and fair in their comments and actions, based on circumstantial factors leading to unfair treatment.

Harassment of Republic TV staff

Apart from arresting Arnab Goswami, several cases have been filed against the reporters and senior staff of Republic TV. Most of them have been harassed as they are being asked to appear in police station frequently and questioned for several hours under the pretext of interrogation.

The image of the fellow journalists and activists in India, who have not voiced their protests against the treatment meted out to Arnab Goswami and the staff of Republic TV, now remain diminished in the eyes of the public. It gives the impression that they are prejudiced.

Certainly, such near silence of the fellow journalists and their associations will embolden the politicians in power and police to repeat such vengeful approach to whoever they want to silence.

It appears that the journalists will pay a high price in the future by their near silence, which obviously would encourage the unethical politicians in power and the brutal minded police officers. 

(The writer is a Trustee, NGO Nandini Voice for the Deprived, Chennai. Views expressed are personal. He can be contacted at nsvenkatchennai@gmail.com)

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