Controversial Indian anchor Arnab Goswami has announced the launch of his new English TV Channel, Republic TV. The announcement comes six months after his departure from the Times Now network where he hosted his nightly program. The anchor is very popular in India for his brash and direct manner and his shows are famous for their shouting matches. He is perceived as being very nationalistic because of his anti-Pakistani rhetoric. He is criticized by many on the left in India for being a representative of the right-wing agenda and that he furthers a biased narrative.
“When a Pakistani terrorist group kills my soldier, I shall not try to look at it through this distilled lens of objectivity”
He is, however, unapologetic when confronted with these accusations:
“When a Pakistani terrorist group kills my soldier, I shall not try to look at it through this distilled lens of objectivity and say I must understand the perspective of the militant terrorist and call him a militant or a gunman,” he says.
He has big plans for his new project. Goswami aims to defeat what he calls the “Indian media cabal operating out of Delhi” by making Republic TV the most-watched English-language news channel in India.
“I would say he was a terrorist and he has killed my country’s soldier. If that violates a few rules of journalism then I would like to violate a few more rules of journalism. I don’t believe in this fake objectivity. I’m an Indian and I will be on the side of India.”
He is an Oxford University graduate and started his career at the Kolkata-based Telegraph in 1994 before joining NDTV. In 2006, he helped set up Times Now where he anchored “The Newshour” before leaving in November.
Goswami has built up a team of around 300 full-time journalists and commercial staff in just four months at Republic TV’s brand new newsroom and studio in central Mumbai. It is not totally clear where the funding for the channel is coming from to run this channel which aims to drive India’s agenda in the world.
“I believe that the hegemony of the Western media has to end,” says Goswami
He has big plans for his new project. Goswami aims to defeat what he calls the “Indian media cabal operating out of Delhi” by making Republic TV the most-watched English-language news channel in India. He also hopes to challenge media giants in the west.
“I believe that the hegemony of the Western media has to end,” says Goswami, wearing black-rimmed glasses.
“There has been too much of a Western dominance over English news media in the world. In the course of the next three or four years, I am certain that I will correct it and I think the challenge to organizations like the BBC or CNN can only come from a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, vibrant, growing democracy like India.”
Many Indian commentators dismiss this new venture as being an attempt to create the “Fox news of India”.
But he denied claims he wants to make Republic TV the “Fox News of India”.
“It’s the losers in the Indian media market who call us the ‘Fox News’. I’ve never seen Fox News so I don’t seek any inspiration from it.”
“I just do whatever I think comes from the heart. I’m a person who shoots from the hip, I pull no punches, I will do nothing else,”
Goswami’s shows are high-decibel affairs, usually featuring half a dozen panelists on the screen, all simultaneously shouting as the anchor barks questions. “I shout because in India if you don’t shout you’re not going to be heard,” he said, describing more sober news shows as “boring”.
“I would request all the Western audiences to loosen up, roll up their sleeves, have a cup of coffee and wake up when they’re doing the news because some of the news channels abroad put me to sleep,” Goswami added.
He insists he will continue to use the catchphrase “nation wants to know” despite his previous employer filing a legal notice against him trying to stop him from doing so, claiming it is their intellectual property.
Detractors say Republic TV has the backing of investors sympathetic to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party but Goswami insists he has no party political interest. He supported the government’s decision to scrap high-denomination banknotes, its fight for a single goods and services tax and surgical strikes on Pakistan and wants it to be tougher on militants in Kashmir and Maoist insurgents.
Goswami describes himself as a “liberal nationalist”, saying he supports secularism, greater inclusion, has championed women and LGBT rights, and also questioned both Hindu and Muslim fundamentalism.
“I just do whatever I think comes from the heart. I’m a person who shoots from the hip, I pull no punches, I will do nothing else,” he stated.