Arnab Goswami besieged by legal troubles
Their shrill, vitriolic coverage has come to roost with Republic TV and its Editor-in-Chief on the receiving end of a barrage of lawsuits and notices lately.
From Mumbai Police to the Maharashtra legislature and Bollywood collectives to individual litigators, Republic TV and its Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami have been swamped with legal trouble over their irresponsible and divisive coverage of issues that created disharmony, maligned reputations and caused harassment to a variety of parties.
The Mumbai Police, which is already probing Republic TV over the manipulation of TRPs to overcharge advertisers, issued a show-cause notice to Goswami for his communally charged coverage of two news stories in April. His channel’s debate on the Palghar lynching case, where two monks and their driver were attacked, was deemed extremely provocative. The notice said that the rhetoric promoted enmity on the basis of religion and that the show evoked strong reactions online. In the same month, Goswami gave a communal twist to the news of migrant workers who gathered outside Bandra Station during the lockdown demanding that they be allowed to go home.
The notice has been sent under Section 108 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrCP) which has asked him to appear before the Special Executive Magistrate and the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Worli Division. There he will be given a chance to appeal against the imposition of a bond of Rs 10 lakh for the duration of a year by a well-known guarantor who can control his behaviour.
Meanwhile, Goswami who moved the Supreme Court in a petition seeking a CBI probe into allegations of TRP manipulation, was shot down saying he will have to wait for the matter to first be dealt with by the Bombay High Court “like any other citizen facing investigation”. It also refused to entertain a plea he had filed challenging the show-cause notice sent to him by the Maharashtra legislature. The two notices sent to him pertained to making disparaging remarks against Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray during the coverage of the Sushant Singh Rajput case and later for breach of privilege for revealing the details of Assembly proceedings to the Supreme Court without the Speaker’s permission.
Apart from this, his channel is also being sued by four cine bodies and 34 studios from Bollywood – including major ones like Aamir Khan Productions, Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment and Zoya Akhtar’s Tiger Baby Digital – for making “irresponsible, derogatory and defamatory remarks” against the industry. They have moved the Delhi High Court asking that Goswami be restrained from interfering with the right to privacy of people associated with the industry. Pertaining to the Sushant Singh Rajput case, his friend Sandip Ssingh has sent a legal notice to Republic TV and Goswami alleging defamation and “criminal intent to extort”. He has claimed a compensation of Rs 200 crores.