Comment: Not right to arrest Arnab!

04 Nov,2020

 

By Pradyuman Maheshwari

 

 

 

On issues like these, we can’t be sitting on the fence. It’s important to say where we stand. Upfront. Unambiguously.

 

But before we do that: We must say that we don’t believe in or endorse Arnab Goswami’s journalism. Friend, Consulting Editor and our founding columnist, Ranjona Banerji, in fact goes a step further: she feels Arnab doesn’t practise journalism.

 

It’s ditto with many other journalists and news media ventures. Sadly.

 

Since Republic TV has been in the business, MxMIndia has helped produce 10-odd A&M shows for the channel. But that was purely a business decision. We didn’t go to town that we did it. But we must add here: no one then said they don’t want to be interviewed by the channel. They enjoyed the reach it offers.

 

We admire Arnab Goswami’s business sense. He was our MxMIndia Mediaperson of the Year for 2017, thanks to the super success that he made of the channel. He’s a journalist, yes, but also a very shrewd businessperson.

 

So enough of reinforcing our standpoint on Republic. Yes, we think it’s incorrect to arrest Arnab Goswami. It is clearly a blow to the freedom of the media, and the attempt is to muzzle and damn him. Even finish him as a journalist and close his media company.

 

There may be many who say that Arnab asked for it. By damning the Uddhav Thackeray, Sharad Pawar, Sonia Gandhi belligerently in a way that only he can, he wasn’t going to get away with it easily.

 

Then there is this senior police official who is now reported to have called him a hawala operator. It was clearly incorrect for the Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh to indict Arnab in a press conference, without adequate proof. But in the height of the Sushant Singh Rajput case, Arnab also asked for the CP’s sacking.

 

 

However, as we said earlier, it is incorrect to arrest Arnab Goswami. The 2018 suicide abetment case which had been reopened by the Maharashtra home minister, a fact he tweeted about in May 2020 We are surprised that the Republic TV founder, with Senior advocate Haresh Salve as his advisor, did not seek anticipatory bail. Even when the case first came up in 2018, it was considered very sensitive and there were fears of an arrest.

 

Home Minister Amit Shah and a variety of political leaders, lawyers and other biggies have damned the arrest. Some of them weren’t as vociferous on the attack on freedom of speech when a few others were put behind bars for dubious reasons. That though is a different story. Arnab Goswami must be released. If his 20-year son was also assaulted, check the CC TV footage and someone must pay a price for that.

 

 

But, Arnab also must take it easy. Practise your journalism. Take on the world. Expose people. But don’t go on to demolish them.

 

 

For, by taking that route, he could well get caught in the crossfire.

 

Editor’s Guild of India and News Broadcasters Association issue statements:

 

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