The army officer’s son who studies some in Delhi, some more in Oxford, returned to India and changed the face of TV news. Who is he, wouldn’t the nation like to Know?
“I shout because in India if you do not shout you are not going to be heard.” He is one of India’s most famous and most controversial news anchors. His supporters call him a nationalistic journalist who takes on India’s high and mighty without fear or favor. It is essentially aimed at campaigned based, activist, questioning the status quo. His critics call him rabble-rouser who backs India’s right-wing politics.
He was born in Guwahati on the 7th of March 1973 into an illustrious family of lawyers and politicians. But this father was an army officer. He and his older sister grew up in army homes around India. On trips back to Assam, he saw locals take out torch-lit processions to protest against illegal immigrants. He went on to graduate in sociology from Delhi University and completed his social anthropology master’s from Oxford.
A career in academics was a given but he had other plans. At the age of 21, he joined the Opinion page of The Telegraph newspaper in Kolkata. Contrary to his current persona, he was “extraordinarily polite” then and also a motivated assistant editor. He went to work carrying an attaché case and a Tiffin box. But only a year later, he joined the NDTV news channel where his growth was overshadowed by the rise of fellow anchor Rajdeep Sardesai. In later life, both took pot-shots at each other’s style of hosting shows.
At the age of 33, he got a big break and joined as editor-in-chief of Times Now. He promoted a hard and fast approach to reporting here. To win the rating war, he introduced the format of heated debates. This made his primetime show No.1 in India and made him a household name. His days of struggling to access big newsmakers were behind him. Other channels copied his style to the hilt.
At the age of 43, owing to the difference with the management, he quit Times Now and remained off the air for a few months. The following year, he launched Republic TV in which he now owns a majority stake. Once he said “I had put my life’s savings of 30 lakh rupees together and decided to launch a TV network to take on the biggest media house of this country. Even as experts argued over Republic’s even more aggressive style of reporting the news the channel hit the top of the charts in record time.
“In the next couple of years, from India, using digital technology and the power of our democracy and the fantastic talent of our youth, we will be taking steps to challenge the hegemony of the western media across the world, he said. He went from strength to strength until 2020 when his coverage of the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput stirred up a controversy. He amplified voices that claimed SSR’s death was in fact a murder. He accused Mumbai Police of botching the investigation. Experts said this coverage helped Republic’s Hindi Channel become No. 1. But he was fast losing friends in the industry.
Republic then got embroiled in a legal tussle with Maharashtra’s police force and the state government headed by Uddhav Thackeray. Multiple cases were filed against him. Some accused him of promoting enmity in society. Then in October 2020, Mumbai Police accused Republic TV of illegally manipulating viewership ratings. On 4th November 2020, he was arrested in a 2018 case for “abetting” the suicide of an architect who had designed his studio.
Republic TV said he was targeted for his style of journalism. He is Arnam Goswami the man who returned from Oxford and turned India’s TV news landscape upside down. So he always says” we are shouting for the right reason. The day we shout for the wrong reason, our audience will itself question us. But till then, we will continue to shout.
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