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We had the opportunity to speak to Arnab Goswami, journalist and former editor-in-chief at Times Now. In a candid interview he discusses his upcoming venture, the state of journalism in the country and much more. Here’s what he had to say.
You’ve left Times Now and spoken about your new venture called Republic. What was the motivation behind this move and what do you plan to achieve?
The motivation is simple- the India of 2016 still does not have an Independent media that can also be a part of the larger global narrative. With Republic, we plan to change that with a fully journalist run and journalist owned enterprise. I believe there should be strong walls between the media and the politicians, and we plan to achieve this with Republic. This is not a motivation, but my gut feeling.
What is your take on the state of journalism in India today?
The Nira Radia incident highlighted the perils of Indian media today. There seems to be a nexus between the media, politicians and corporate houses that is plaguing the country right now.
Do you think there are media bodies and journalists in India that are unbiased?
There are certainly individual journalists who are unbiased. I’m not so sure about media bodies- that’s what Republic is going to change.
In your opinion, is the role of journalists to simply state facts or to also take sides and espouse a one sided rhetoric, when the issues are as nuanced as national security and patriotism?
There can be no nuance in patriotism- it is a black or white issue.
You are either for India or not, for India. With Republic we plan to make a nationalist media organisation, and I proudly state that it will be a For India media body.
According to a recent report by the Committee to Protect Journalists India is among the top 10 deadliest countries for journalists. What are your thoughts/comments on this?
Well I am alive (laughs). I think every journalist that comes in this profession knows about the risk he is taking. Also I don’t think it (the risk involved) is any greater than the risk in some other professions- the soldiers of our country take a huge risk every day on our borders.
Your style of journalism and moderation as host of The Newshour must have invited it’s fair share of detractors. How do you respond?
Well I’m glad they are watching.
You have already been a part of a parody video by AIB, where do you think should be the line between funny and offensive in this country? How sportingly do you take jokes and mimicry?
I have met Tanmay Bhatt, and laughed a lot at their videos. I met with the TVF guys too and heard they have also a series about me.
I find them quite funny and take them in the spirit they are meant to be.
On what sources do you rely on to keep yourself updated on the latest happenings in and around the country?
I have my reporters that I trust- they keep me updated. And then I have my sources too.
I feel that listening to my sources as they bring me information is something that could keep me engrossed all day- I would not even be in need of a job.