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Arnab Goswami

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Arnab Goswami
Arnab Goswami Times Now.jpg
Arnab Goswami in 2011
Born
Arnab Goswami[1]

(1973-03-07) 7 March 1973 (age 47)
Guwahati, Assam, India
EducationHindu College (BA)
St Antony's College, Oxford (MA)
Visiting Fellow, Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge
Occupation
Years active1995–present
OrganizationRepublic TV
Notable credit(s)
The Newshour
Frankly Speaking with Arnab
The Debate With Arnab Goswami
Nation Wants To Know
Spouse(s)Samyabrata Ray Goswami
Children1

Arnab Ranjan Goswami (born 7 March 1973) is an Indian journalist, who is the managing director and editor-in-chief of Republic Media Network.[2] Before Republic TV, Goswami was the editor-in-chief and a news anchor of Times Now and ET Now, from 2006 to 2016.[3][4] Previously, he had also served stints at NDTV and The Telegraph. On Times Now, he anchored The Newshour, a live debate at 9 pm (IST) weekdays, which propelled him to widespread fame.[5][6] He also hosted a special television programme Frankly Speaking with Arnab.[7][8] In November 2016, Goswami resigned as editor-in-chief of Times Now.[9][10] His news channel Republic TV was launched in May 2017.[11][12]

He has been accused of opinionated reporting[13][14] in support of Bharatiya Janata Party[15] and Hindutva across a wide spectrum of situations[16] — including by uncritical reproduction of government narratives,[17] avoiding criticism of figures from the ruling party (BJP), and presenting political opponents in a negative light.[18][19]

Early life and education

Family

Goswami was born in Guwahati, Assam on 7 March 1973[20] to an Assamese family.[21][22] Born to late Colonel Manoranjan Goswami[23] and Suprabha Goswami.[24] Goswami’s father joined the Indian Army in the early 1960s and served as a Army officer for nearly 30 years.[23] Post his retirement he joined the Bharatiya Janata Party; he had lost the 1998 Lok Sabha Polls for the Guwahati constituency to Congress candidate Bhubaneshwar Kalita.[25] He wrote various columns, books and was the recipient of the Asam Sahitya Sabha Award in 2017.[23]

Goswamy's mother is Suprabha Gain-Goswami, an author.[26][27]

His paternal grandfather Rajani Kanta Goswami was a lawyer.[22] His maternal grandfather, Gaurisankar Bhattacharyya, was an elected legislator from the Communist Party of India and served as the leader of the opposition in Assam for many years.[22][28][29]

Goswami's maternal uncle, Siddhartha Bhattacharya is the incumbent BJP MLA from Gauhati East constituency; he was the head of the Assam unit of the party before Sarbananda Sonowal took over in 2015.[30][31]

Education

An army officer's son, Goswami attended schools across various cities. He passed his 10th Standard board exams from St Mary's School in Delhi Cantonment and his 12th Standard board exams from Kendriya Vidyalaya in Jabalpur Cantonment.[32] Goswami has a Bachelor's degree in Sociology from the Hindu College in Delhi University.[33][34] In 1994 Goswami completed his Master's in Social Anthropology from St. Antony's College, at Oxford University,[35] where he was a Felix Scholar.[32]

In 2000, Goswami was a Visiting Fellow at Cambridge University's international studies department.[36]

Personal life

Goswami is married to Samyabrata Ray Goswami,[37][38] and they have a son.[39]

Career

The Telegraph and NDTV

Goswami started his career with The Telegraph in Kolkata, as a Journalist[40]; less than a year later, he moved to Delhi and joined NDTV.[41][42][22] Goswami has mentioned having a strong connection with the city, despite his exceptionally short stint there.[22]

Goswami was a part of NDTV from 1996 to 2006[43]. At NDTV, he anchored daily newscasts including News Tonight, a programme telecast on DD Metro.[44] Newsnight, hosted by Goswami,[45] won him an award for the Best News Anchor of Asia 2004 in the 2004 Asian Television Awards.

Times Now

In 2006, Goswami left NDTV to join the newly-launched Times Now news channel, as its editor-in-chief .[46]

His show The Newshour was aired at 9PM with live news coverage, and featured notable personalities such as Parvez Musharraf.[47] He also hosted a special programme, Frankly Speaking with Arnab, which has featured personalities such as Benazir Bhutto[48] and former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown,[49] Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, retired head of state of the Tibetan Government in Exile, the Dalai Lama and former United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Goswami was the first television anchor to interview Prime Minister Narendra Modi after he took office in 2014.[50]

Goswami resigned as editor-in-chief of Times Now on 1 November 2016 citing editorial differences, lack of journalistic freedom and newsroom politics.[51][52][53] He hosted the last edition of his flagship show[54] The Newshour Debate, a fortnight later.[55][56] Incidentally, the Newshour has been subject to an ongoing investigation by Ofcom, the UK government-approved regulatory authority for broadcasting, during the months of August and September and it went on to hold Times Now guilty of violating the impartiality clause of its broadcast code.[19]

Arnab Goswami speaking at Wiki Conference Mumbai, India 2011

Republic TV

Republic TV was funded in part by Asianet, which in turn was primarily funded by Rajeev Chandrasekhar, a then-independent member of Rajya Sabha who had intricate links with the Bharatiya Janata Party and was vice-chairman of the National Democratic Alliance in Kerala.[57][58] Rajeev later announced his resignation as the director on the board of ARG Outlier Asianet News Pvt Ltd, the company that owns Republic TV. He stated that he took this decision since he officially joined the BJP and it was in the best interest of Republic TV’s brand and team that he no longer serve on the board.[59] Among other major investors were Goswami, his wife, educationists Ramdas Pai and Ramakanta Panda—all of whom invested through SARG Media Holding Private Ltd.[60]

Goswami was the Managing Director as well the Editor-in-Chief; the channel was launched on 6 May 2017 as a free-to-air channel.[61][62] Chitra Subramaniam was roped in as the editorial adviser and numerous personas associated with Times Now in various roles joined the channel.[63][64][65][66]

In May 2019, Goswami bought a chunk of shares held by Rajeev Chandrasekhar-promoted Asianet News Media & Entertainment to gain near full ownership. Later Republic Media Network released a statement stating that Goswami personally owns over 82 per cent stake in Republic TV and that the company also owns 99 per cent equity in the downstream digital entity that controls the digital assets of the network.[67]

It was the most watched English news channel in India for 100 weeks in a row since its founding;[68] Goswami was noted to be a critical factor behind the favourable public reception.[69]

Resignation from Editors Guild

In the wake of the 2020 Palghar mob lynching, on 21 April 2020, during his live show, Arnab resigned from Editors Guild. Arnab accused Shekhar Gupta of leading the compromise on journalism for not speaking on incidents like this.[70][71] Nagpur police registered a first information report [72] against Arnab Goswami over a complaint filed by Maharashtra Power Minister Nitin Raut. The FIR filed by the police include charges of giving provocation with intent to cause riot, promoting enmity between two groups on grounds of religion or race, deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs and defamation under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code.[73]

Book

In 2002, Goswami wrote a book: Combating Terrorism: The Legal Challenge.[74][75]

Reception

Goswami and his style of journalism, has been subject to massive criticism.[76]

Modi’s supporters often get their news from Republic TV, which features shouting matches, public shamings, and scathing insults of all but the most slavish Modi partisans. Founded in 2017 with B.J.P. support, Republic TV stars Arnab Goswami, a floppy-haired Oxford graduate who acts as a kind of public scourge for opponents of Modi’s initiatives.
In a typical program, from 2017, Goswami mentioned a law mandating that cinemas play the national anthem, and asked whether people should be required to stand; his guest Waris Pathan, a Muslim assemblyman, argued that it should be a matter of choice.
Why can’t you stand up? - Goswami shouted at Pathan. Before Pathan could get out an answer, he yelled again, Why can’t you stand up? What’s your problem with it?
Pathan kept trying, but Goswami, his hair flying, shouted over him:- I’ll tell you why, because—I’ll tell you why. I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you why. Can I tell you? Then why don’t you stop, and I’ll tell you why? Don’t be an anti-national! Don’t be an anti-national! Don’t be an anti-national!...

Dexter Filkins, "Blood and Soil in Narendra Modi's India". The New Yorker. 2 December 2019.

He has been noted for his opinionated reporting[13][14] in support of Bharatiya Janata Party[15] and Hindutva across a wide spectrum of situations[16] including by uncritical reproduction of government narratives,[17] avoiding criticism of figures from the ruling party (BJP)[77] and presenting political opponents in a negative light.[18][19] Goswami has been also linked with the popularisation of the neologisms — Urban Naxal and Anti-national — to denote those critical to right wing sentiments or the government, in a bid to evoke hyper-nationalism among the audience.[78][79][80][81][82] Attempts to quell communal tensions through irresponsible reporting containing religious overtones have been alleged.[78]

Republic TV has been since compared to North Korean media for its extreme pro-government affinity and muzzling of dissent;[83][84] noted political scientist Christophe Jaffrelot and journalist Dexter Filkins have compared it to Fox News, an American TV channel that practices biased reporting in favour of the Republican Party.[85][86] Vanita Kohli-Khandekar, over Business Standard, noted it to be a "noisy, chaotic place where coherent debate without shouting, screaming and name-calling is impossible";[87] others have noted of its shows to be a "battle of babble", judgmental, brash and hawkish.[88][89][90] Vaishnavi Chandrashekhar, in a Foreign Policy article, noted its coverage of the 2019 India-Pakistan conflict, to put jingoism ahead of journalism.[91]

Fact checkers have documented him, and his channels to have propagated outright fake or dubious news, on multiple occasions.[92][93][94][95][96][97][98][99][100][101][102]

Controversies and criticism

Tharoor defamation case

Also that month, parliamentarian Shashi Tharoor filed a civil defamation case in the Delhi High Court against Goswami and Republic TV in connection with the channel's broadcast of news items from 8 to 13 May claiming his link in his wife Sunanda Pushkar's death in 2014.[103][104] Seeking the channel's response, Justice Manmohan of the High Court said, "Bring down the rhetoric. You can put out your story, you can put out the facts. You cannot call him names. That is uncalled for."[105]

Remark over Keralites

On 25 August 2018, according to The Week news magazine, Arnab Goswami was lambasted on social media after a 30-second video clip of him purportedly calling "a group" the "most shameless bunch of Indians I have ever seen" went viral on social media while discussing blocking foreign aid destined for the flood hit state of Kerala.[106] He further added the people who are criticising the government of India in this regard are 'anti-national', 'paid agents', and 'shameless'. Keralites have showered the Facebook and Twitter accounts of Republic TV and Arnab Goswami with ridiculing comments in protest.[107] After being fact-checked by several news portals, it was finally revealed that Goswami's "most shameless bunch of Indians I have ever seen" comment did not refer to Keralites but he was actually targeting the "Tukde-Tukde Break India forces", "Leftists" and some Twitter handles that spread fake news about the 700 crore flood relief aid from the UAE.[106]

News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) censures

On 30 August 2018, News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) of India demanded Republic TV to tender a full-screen apology for use of multiple objectionable words to describe a bunch of people at a political rally, who were harassing one of his journalists.[108] Republic TV "removed the video from its website and YouTube account" after receiving the complaint[109][110] but refused to comply with the NBSA order, instead filing an appeal.[108]

In October 2019, RepublicTV was again asked to broadcast a public apology, after the channel declined to co-operate in a case accusing Goswami of violating the standard prohibitions on racial and religious stereotyping and instead commented on NBSA to have engaged in "intense pseudo-judicial oversight".[111] Republic TV did not abide by the order;[111] incidentally, Goswami was the convener of the committee that drafted the code, years back.[112]

2020 Palghar mob lynching

In connection with the 2020 Palghar mob lynching case, several first information reports were filed against Goswami, regarding his alleged use of inflammatory language, as well as claims of misinformation.[113][114]

Honors

Goswami had won the Ramnath Goenka Award for Excellence in Journalism (TV) in 2008.[115]

On 8 December 2019, he was unanimously elected as the President of News Broadcasting Federation, a newly formed federation of about 78 channels, which sought to replace NBSA.[116][117][118]

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