Television

Being a 'cry baby' won't help Times Group, says Republic TV's Arnab Goswami

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MUMBAI: The slugfest between the established leader and the new entrant in the national English news genre is getting murkier by the day. After allegations of telecasting Republic TV on multiple feeds by some MSOs surfaced, and the NBA petitioning the TRAI, there were reports of unethical behaviour against the new channel's editor.

No might or strategy however seems to be working to put down the self-proclaimed David in its fight with the Goliath. Hours after Bennett Coleman registered a police complaint against the former editor of Times Now, the Republic TV founder and editor Arnab Goswami called up indiantelevision.com to talk about his triumphs in the audio-visual media as well as the social media.

Excerpts:

How is Republic TV doing?

The channel has got tremendous traction -- it's way above on our own expectations. Our digital traction, social media traction -- all have been extremely encouraging. We are tracking viewers' behaviour and their responses to our campaigns and the stories that we are breaking everyday -- it is without an iota of doubt we are on path to be the leaders.

What do you have to say about the police complaint against you?

I just wanted to say in the response to this attempt by the Times of India Group that  it's a desperate act of the party which is losing. As I said at the FICCI conference recently, this is the David versus Goliath battle, and the Times of India Group has lost all its viewership.

They must look at their content and work in their newsrooms, and sit in the police station. If they would have spent more time in their newsroom rather than in the police station, may be, somebody would have watched them. But, essentially, the desperation and paranoia of losing Goliath proves that they are unable to come to terms with defeat. The TOI Group must accept defeat gracefully -- it will be better for them.

The TOI Group must introspect the reasons for their rejection. We telecast a numbers of big stories and exposes from day one of our launch -- 6 May. And, people have accepted us with open arms.

Aren't you legally on a weak wicket if the tapes which you played in Sunanda Pushkar and Lalu Yadav-Shahabuddin case were actually recorded during your employment at Times Now?

(Arnab Goswami parries the actual question)

The Sunanda Pushkar case been going on for two and half years now. Justice has been denied in this case for this period. Journalism is all about pursuing the truth, and I will pursue the truth. I am not responsible if the Delhi Police has not followed up on this case. When we were with Times Now, Prema Sridevi was instructed by her immediate superior of Times Now not to share these tapes with the police.

You seem to be saying all that is being said against you is totally wrong.

The paranoid behaviour of the Times of India Group including the impeccably foolish attempt  to claim copyright over the phrase "Nation wants to know" has rendered them a laughing stock in the eyes of the people across the country. Never before has one heard a case of one media house going to the police because of a story done by another media house.

I would like like thank TOI for giving us the viewership. A senior TOI executive told us that they would be watching Republic TV. Being a "cry baby" would not help the TOI Group.

You have still not answered our question of whether or not it's correct to take away material that ethically belongs to your (now former) employer.

If the Times of India Groups wants to take me to jail, I will walk from here to jail. This will be the first time in the history of journalism that a journalist and editor has sent to jail for for following a murder investigation. Would you not agree that from 6 May, news has not been the same?

Vineet Jain and the Times Group should invest more time with their lawyers in police stations. But, I have many more news stories to break and follow.

Are you saying that you would want to win by hook or crook?

There is no hook and there is no crook, my friend -- this is only journalism.

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