Neutrality is the biggest lie in Indian and global media: Arnab Goswami
For Arnab Goswami, Managing Director, Republic TV, it is impossible for one to be neutral, he believes that everybody is biased
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Neutrality might be considered an indispensable element of journalism but for Arnab Goswami, Managing Director, Republic TV, the debate about neutrality is “the biggest lie” in media. He has no qualms to question the idea of neutrality in a country that is polarised on many levels. Speaking at the 11th INMA Annual South Asia conference, which was held in New Delhi recently, Goswami said, “When I started out we did not have the liberty to ask questions of our choice. And that was considered neutrality. We have seen this disgraced neutrality and been part of it. A generation which crushed the Bofors deal cannot teach me journalism, they cannot teach me neutrality. I think neutrality is impossible; neutrality is the biggest lie in Indian and global media. Nobody is neutral, everybody is biased and that is my belief."
Goswami also agrees that there has been a big shift in the practice of journalism. From playing safe to asking uncomfortable questions, the change has been phenomenal, especially in the last decade. “In 2002 after spending eight years in media in Lutyen’s Delhi, I decided to quit journalism. I felt there was no momentum, there was no impact and we had all just become mere graphic artists. There was no difference between TV and print. It was frustrating.”
Case for non-conformists
According to Goswami, his two decade long journey in news media has led him to believe that nobody is a byproduct of the system. “The system is never greater than an individual. I have never felt it more strongly than in today’s television and digital age. When the individual is greater, then all the systems are possible.”
In his words, “Republic is a rebellion against the media.” Goswami’s brand of journalism is all about questioning the system and not being a complacent to pressing issues like corruption. “There are conformists and there are non-conformists. There are people who believe they can win in life by becoming part of the system. And there are some of us who believe we should make a difference in life. We must be willing to go two steps back and question the system,” explains Goswami.
Goswami is of the firm opinion that one cannot be neutral in this country that is dealing with several issues. According to him, the print medium tried to be neutral and it lost the plot. Sharing how his new venture Republic TV was exposing the perpetuators of fake neutrality, he stated, “The rise of Republic is the rejection of fake neutrality. Because we have not been neutral from day one and Republic will never be neutral in that false or contorted sense. The journalism that we practice may be noisy but it’s honest and it does not intellectualise. This is no neutrality, there was no neutrality there will be no neutrality. There should not be any neutrality. There is only a perpetual battle, the battle between right and wrong.”
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