Comment: Free Arnab. Bahut ho gaya!

10 Nov,2020

By Pradyuman Maheshwari

 

There are times in our lives when we need to take a stand. Call a spade a spade. Yet, be fair.

 

But first: I’ve said this before, and will repeat. I don’t believe in or endorse Arnab Goswami’s journalism. There are many who say that Goswami’s work can’t even be called journalism, as it’s popularly perceived. It’s most often downright propaganda.

 

Every mediaperson reserves the right to say whatever she or he wants. Freedom of Speech is assured to every citizen of India. However, along with this freedom comes responsibility. And accountability.

 

Arnab Goswami breached that. His primetime journalism was far from unbiased journalism. He took positions, screamed loudly and rubbished his studio guests. All of which made it entertaining for many, but his nightly outbursts were obnoxious.

 

He is in fact scarred the craft of news journalism, as the layperson now believes all journalists are like that – biased and uncivil, damaging human senses.

 

So why am I then saying that Arnab Goswami should be set free? Because the government has made its point very clear to the Republic TV founder and managing director. However, much as he may have maligned the entire ruling coalition and not respected the Chief Minister’s chair, we believe he is being wronged against.

 

The reason why he was arrested has been disputed. His company’s name is on the suicide note, but the case was closed earlier and opened in a dubious manner last week. It may well have been closed in a dubious manner, but I don’t want to get into the technicalities of the case. He was arrested with virtually the entire state’s thinktank deployed to arrest him.

 

The role of other media can also be questioned. Almost every media major entity in the country is out to finish Arnab. A lot of newsprint has been invested in discrediting him. Goswami had earlier rubbished them all. Short of using expletives, he did everything to trash most other entities.

 

But should the government continue to insist Goswami is behind bars. No it shouldn’t. There are fears that he is being tortured. Perhaps these are exaggerations. Perhaps these aren’t.

 

Yes, he has erred, but he needs to be released. Bahut ho gaya. Let him off with a strict warning and advisory to temper his journalism.  And perhaps not allow him to go on air until the final Bombay High Court order. Or allow him to come on air but desist  from commenting on his arrest and Maharashtra affairs. Or whatever the Court deems fit.

 

It will also do a world of good for the reputation of the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress MVA government. They have achieved their objective. Shown Goswami who’s the real boss. Now free him.

 

Pradyuman Maheshwari is editor-in-chief, MxMIndia. His views here are personal.

 

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