The Big Debate! How good is Arnab Goswami’s Republic?

Arnab Goswami’s new channel Republic was launched on the 6th of May and it has been over a month and the channel has already managed to garner some attention, in fact a lot more attention than they would have thought of.

Republic has been a part of the controversy ever since the channel launched and it has been very clear that the channel has been TRP hungry. The channel has aired many controversial debates and reports. Even the Delhi High Court had to step-in and ask the channel to stop the rhetoric, when Shashi Tharoor, Congress leader filed a defamation case against Republic for the report on Tharoor’s wife.

The main stream media has been critical of Arnab’s style of journalism and chest-thumping nationalism. There have been a several pieces written on Republic has forgotten the basic ethics of journalism and fact reporting.

Newslaundary criticising how Kashmir is debated on the channel

Newslaundary.com recently wrote on their website, ‘In a Republic TV debate that has gone viral since its release on Facebook on June 3, retired Major Gaurav Arya of the Indian Army and moderator Arnab Goswami engaged in a cringe-worthy dialogue about drastic measures that they recommended to be adopted to bring the Kashmir situation under control. Ethics, quite obviously, are redundant to a channel that flashes its alignments even as the debate is under way with politically charged and TRP-oriented hashtags like #NationFirstNoCompromise.’

Here’s what he said: “I would say ransack these people, take away the properties, seize the banks, take away the houses, leave them bankrupt, leave them on the streets, leave them with nowhere to go, let them scream and shout, let them say our human rights are being taken away, deny them anything, take away their passports, create an Indian version of Guantanamo Bay and put them there. That is the only treatment that these people now deserve.”

How does a prime-time news hour debate compromise so coolly on coherence, sanity, humanity, and shame? Has the nation really come to the point where the extent of citizens’ innocence requires to be measured in terms of degree of starvation and the lack of will to continue with their lives?

Altnews also did a review on Republic after it completed a month since its launch

Altnews.in wrote the channel has blended into the Indian media scene with its screaming anchors and noisy debates. In this one month, it has managed to collect one defamation case and one criminal complaint for theft and copyright violation. According to BARC statistics, the newly launched channel managed to attract a large viewership in the first week itself as rival channels cried foul about unfair practices.

Altnews.in criticized Arnab and Republic for its chest-thumping nationalism

Nationalism was the most dominant theme going by the number of hashtags devoted to it. The hashtags were designed to drum up nationalist support – #NationWithForces #NationLovesIndianArmy, #IndiaAgainstAntiNationals, #ArmyAbovePolitics #NationFirstNoCompromise, and so on.

For Republic, nationalism serves a dual purpose. Apart from distracting attention from real issues, it is also used as a stick to beat the opposition. While it projects #NationWithForces, the opposition is singled out as insulting the Army and martyrs. #AkhileshInsultsMartyrs, #LeftInsultsArmy

Republic has been against the opposition

Republic has put out a series of videos even before the channel aired concentrating on the opposition leaders like Arvind Kejriwal, Rahul Gandhi with the hashtag, #ArnabWithYouSoon.

Altnews.in wrote Arnab was coming soon to take them on. It is therefore no surprise that in its one month of operation itself, Republic has done an outstanding job of holding the opposition and liberals responsible for failures of the government. At the time of Sukma attack, the channel was not yet launched but the official handle put out a set of tweets from Arnab Goswami questioning the student leaders. There were no questions to the government.

TRAI’s action against Republic TV leads to decreased viewership

The republic managed to get the highest viewership in its launch week post which News Broadcasters Association (NBA) picked up the matter immediately. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recently issued a mandate condemning the use of multiple LCNs (logical channel numbers) to boost TV ratings.

On 31st May, TRAI issued a mandate, a portion of which reads as follows, “It has come to the notice of the Authority that several MSOs providing cable TV services are placing some channels at more than one LCN under multiple genres simultaneously. The Authority views such practice as material non-compliance of the extant regulatory framework prescribed by it. Therefore, all the MSOs are hereby advised to strictly comply with the extant regulatory framework in letter as well as spirit, failing which action shall be taken against such operators as envisaged in terms of the provisions of the TRAI Act, 1997.

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