Arnab Goswami is a man who holds court every night, whether it was during his early days on Times Now or his current platform on Republic. Way back in 2018, he accused Sudha Bharadwaj of being an "urban naxal" and part of a "gang" that works in conflation with Pakistan's ISI – with no proof, no corroboration, and zero evidence.
In 2016, he thundered that Umar Khalid was "more dangerous to this country than Maoist terrorists" based on...nothing, really, during the sedition row in JNU. He also allowed panelists to call JNU students "closet terrorists".
In 2015, he ran a campaign on Aarushi Talwar's murder on Times Now that effectively called her parents murderers. When the court acquitted the Talwars two years later, Goswami held a 45-minute debate with constant insinuations and zero care for balance or journalistic enquiry.
Last year, his channel lied about the identity of the Jamia shooter. And during the citizenship law protests, Goswami described Shaheen Bagh as a "useful epicentre of an anti-Hindu, anti-India, money-guzzling, opportunistic and entirely political movement".
And yet, on Tuesday, Republic accused the Indian Express of acting “as a judge, jury and executioner” who breached “all journalistic ethics”. Express's crime? Quoting from a police chargesheet with details and statements from both sides of a case except, of course, the case was about Goswami himself.
And so, Republic served Express a legal notice
BREAKING: Republic TV serves legal notice upon Indian Express for publishing the story titled "Arnab Goswami paid me $12,000 and Rs 40 lakh to fix ratings: Partho Dasguptaâ @republic claims story is "false and misleading" . Seeks apology from @rajkamaljha90 @IndianExpress pic.twitter.com/l0rOrYYwrI— Bar & Bench (@barandbench) January 26, 2021
The report in question, published on January 25, was on how former BARC CEO Partho Dasgupta had submitted a statement to the Mumbai police. The handwritten statement purportedly said that Republic chief Arnab Goswami had paid Goswami to "manipulate ratings in favour of the news channel".
The report was headlined "Arnab Goswami paid me $12,000 and Rs 40 lakh to fix ratings: Partho Dasgupta".
In its legal notice, Republic called the report a part of a "part of a severely prejudicial campaign engineered and implemented by the Indian Express aimed at attempting to irreparably destroy their reputation as well as the reputation of the Republic Media Network". Specifically, the notice also called the headline "squarely deliberate and mischievous".
The notice also claimed that Dasgupta's statement had been obtained by the police "under coercion and duress" and was "inadmissible by law".
The notice ignored the fact that the strapline of the Express report quoted Dasgupta's lawyer as saying the "handwritten statement has no evidentiary value". All the quotes in the Express piece were attributed to the Mumbai police's supplementary chargesheet. Express had also included Republic's statement in the report.
Dasgupta, who is currently in jail, was arrested in December as part of the TRP scam. Earlier this month, the police made public hundreds of pages of purported WhatsApp conversations between Goswami and Dasgupta, showing Goswami and Dasgupta discussing politicians, journalists, news networks, and the TRP system.
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