A way to damage media credibility

Ali Sukhanver

There would be a few ones to whom the name of Arnab Goswami would not be known; this Indian news anchor is now-a-days talk of the town. He is the editor-in-chief of the Republic Media Network. This media organization owns and operates two channels namely Republic TV in English and Republic Bharat in Hindi. For the last many years this young TV anchor has been supporting Mr. Narendra Modi and his discriminatory Hindu nationalist policies blindly. On 29th December 2020, The Wire published a report which said that Arnab Goswami had paid millions of rupees to senior officials at the TV ratings agency BARC So that they would exaggerate his channel’s rating. According to the Mumbai police, former CEO of BARC Partho Dasgupta was also among those whom Goswami allegedly paid off.

According to the media details, Dasgupta was arrested a few days back for his alleged connivance with another ex-senior BARC official for manipulating the television rating points (TRP) of Republic TV and its Hindi arm. The BARC had carried out random test and collected samples of 40 weeks during which TRP of ‘Times Now’ news channel was higher, but allegedly, with rigging, the rating of Republic TV was increased. This was allegedly done by tampering with barometers, said the police. It is not for the first time that Arnab Goswami is found involved in such type of nefarious activity; he is a habitual culprit who adopts each and every fair and foul means for keeping himself ‘uplifted’ in media circles. Fortu-nate for the others and u-nfortunate for Arnab Gosw-ami that during the course of investigation on manipulation of television ratings case the Mumbai police got a clue that Goswami was well aware of the Modi government’s plan to stage a strike in Pakistan, days before the Balakot episode on Feb 26, 2019.

According to the Mumbai police officials the conversation-details of Goswami and Dasgupta WatsApp chat revealed that Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party administration had planned the air strike, just before the election, ‘in a way that would ‘elate’ the people’. The WatsApp conversations proved that Goswami was also a part of that false-flag operation conspiracy. In short from the Pulwama episode to the Balakot thriller, Goswami’s WatsApp chat has discredited all fishy tales of adventure which Mr. Modi has ever been narrating. Mr. Modi had been trying to impress rather misguiding his nation that in shape of Balakot ‘surgical-strikes’ India has equaled the scores with Pakistan in reaction to the so-called Pulwama Attack which took place on 14 February 2019. According to the details shared by the Indian media, a convoy of vehicles carrying security personnel on the Jammu Srinagar National Highway was attacked by a vehicle-borne suicide bomber at Lethpora in the Pulwama district, Jammu and Kashmir. The attack resulted in the deaths of 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel and the attacker. The Balakot episode was Indian ‘response’ to the Pulwama Attack as claimed by the BJP sarkar. The WatsApp conversations of Goswami has proved that the Pulwama Attack story was also a horrible political manipulation of the situation by Modi government and Pakistan was nowhere on the front or in the background of these incidents.

Mr. Modi simply tried to kill so many birds with two stones but in his eagerness he made a wrong choice in selection of his conspiracy-team members. If Goswami were not there in his team, things would never have met such a shameful ending. Now the adventure-tale of Balakot as well as the massacre in Pulwama, both incidents have lost their credibility. Certainly if there is an honest judiciary in India, some day some honorable judge of some honorable Indian Court would take a suo-motu notice of these two incidents and certainly Mr. Modi will be taken to task for playing with the lives of 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel killed in Pulwama tragedy. And some international court of justice would surely ask Mr. Modi why he sacrificed the lives of innocent citizens living along the LoC in so-called Balakot ‘Surgical’ strikes. If Mr. Modi had played this heinous game in the larger interest of his country, he might have some sympathizers on his side but he did all this in his own personal interest. He tried to deceive and dodge his own people when elections were at hand. Since after the Pulwama Attacks and the Balakot incident, Pakistan had been trying to convince the international world that these two episodes were nothing but false flag operations staged by India’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government and the sole aim of these operations was to tarnish Pakistan’s image and ensure Modi’s victory in the upcoming elections.

These two incidents on one hand put regional and even global security at risk and on the other hand revealed onto the world that media could also be a very dangerous tool if it comes into the hands of someone with a criminal approach of mind. Whatever Goswami did is being criticized all over the world; almost all media groups are trying to expose the wickedness and shrewdness of Goswami and Dasgupta through their critical analysis on the issue but it is very unfortunate that the Indian media itself is ‘observing’ complete silence in this matter. You could not find even a single line in Indian newspapers and TV shows in condemnation of Goswami’s misuse of media strength. This silence of the Indian media on the issue is also a crime in itself.