Statement condemning the attack on Advocate Sudha Bhardwaj

​​We the undersigned wish to place on record our utter disgust, contempt and outrage at the latest in the series of machinations by Republic TV, working to its brief as a propagandist for the ongoing crusade against all those who take public stands in defence of democracy, secularism, human rights, Constitutional propriety and rule of law.

Republic TV’s latest target is Advocate Sudha Bharadwaj, National Secretary of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Vice President of the Indian Association of Progressive Lawyers and Visiting Professor at the National Law University Delhi. She is widely-known for her three decades of work as a trade unionist, human rights defender, environmental lawyer and a respected advisor to several state institutions including the state legal aid bodies and the National Human Rights Commission. Continue reading “Statement condemning the attack on Advocate Sudha Bhardwaj”

Jignesh Mevani, The Meltdown of Modi-Men and Dadhichi’s Bones

[ This post is based on updates posted by me on my Facebook wall ]

Jignesh Mevani. Photograph by Siddharaj Solanki, HT (Hindustan Times) File Photo, accessed from the HT website

A great kerfuffle has ensued ever since the recently elected independent MLA from Vadgam, Gujarat and Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch activist Jignesh Mevani gave an interview in which he had some choice things to say about the Prime Minister and BJP leader Narendra Modi. Mr. Mevani made some positive and gentle suggestions, to the effect that because Mr. Modi has stopped being relevant, has not delivered on even one of the promises made by him, he should retire, proceed towards the Himalayas, and in the phrase that has caused the greatest commotion, ‘melt his bones’.

Predictably, Mr. Modi’s personal broadcasting service, known as Republic TV has kicked up the greatest fuss. Arnab Goswami has been especially indignant, and he was joined in his rage by BJP spokesperson, the orotund television commentator and historical photo-shop scam artist, Mr. Sambit Patra. Mr. Mevani offered a robust and dignified  refusal to apologize for what he said about Mr. Modi, when Republic TV demanded that he do so. Continue reading “Jignesh Mevani, The Meltdown of Modi-Men and Dadhichi’s Bones”

Boycott Republic TV – the hounding of S. P. Udayakumar

Is it not time for this channel that sets new lows with each programme, to be totally boycotted by all right-thinking people?

Don’t watch Republic TV, don’t participate in its programmes.

Dr SP Udayakumar’s complaint to the Press Council of India follows. He is
Coordinator, People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) and
Pachai Tamizhagam Katchi (Green Tamil Nadu Party)

June 21, 2017

Hon’ble Mr. Justice Chandramauli Kumar Prasad
The Chairman, Press Council of India

Dear Sir:

Greetings! I write to bring your kind attention to the ongoing deceit and harassment of me and my family by Mr. Arnab Ranjan Goswami and a few of his colleagues such as Shweta and Sanjeev from the Republic TV.

On April 8, 2017, one “Shweta Sharma” (I later found out that her real name was Shweta Kothari) came to my home at Nagercoil and introduced herself as a “research scholar” from the Cardiff University in the UK. She asked for my help with her dissertation research. She had been accompanied by her “local friend” Sanjeev. I gave her several books and answered her questions.

On April 9, 2017 she requested me to stop by her hotel room as she had a few more questions. There she told me that “one of her British professors” was very keen on supporting our struggle against the Koodankulam nuclear power plant. I told her that we did not accept money from foreigners and our movement had no bank account also. She then asked me if there was any other way of donating money to us. I told her that my personal account was frozen and that even our party account could not receive foreign funds.

The Anti-Democratic ‘Republic’: Bobby Kunhu

Guest post by BOBBY KUNHU

English language television news in India nowadays is nothing more than exaggerated visual editorials. They pick two or three stories, sensationalize them, run them in a loop through the day, alongside panel discussions where the editorial ideology of the channel is forced down the throat of the panelists and the viewers. In short there is hardly little journalism left in these channels. Though they do have panel discussions, regional language channels – at least Malayalam and Tamil channels that I watch – have a wider and more diverse reportage than self-proclaimed national television.

It wasn’t always like this. When Prannoy Roy pioneered private television content for Murdoch – regardless of the ideological content – there was reportage. Editorial proselytizing and endless panel discussions were limited most often to when psephologists stepped in.

Continue reading “The Anti-Democratic ‘Republic’: Bobby Kunhu”

In the Name of the ‘Nation’: Vidya K. Subramanian and C. J. Kuncheria

This is a guest post by VIDYA K S and C J KUNCHERIA

“Don’t you dare speak over me when I am speaking of Lance Naik Hanumanthapa! We’re proud of him and we’re ashamed of you!,” screamed Arnab Goswami at Umar Khalid, the JNU student at the centre of unfolding events at the university. Hundreds of thousands of self-proclaimed nationalists cheered at that instant, and many more did as the clip went viral over social media. The death of the soldier, one of the 869 who have been killed in the last four years by the punishing weather on Siachen, had been conveniently used to invoke a cathartic nationalism. Continue reading “In the Name of the ‘Nation’: Vidya K. Subramanian and C. J. Kuncheria”

A Solicitous Enquiry after the Mental Health of Arnab Goswami

Arnab,

I am wondering if all has been going well with you. I saw your show on television the other night and you were shouting at a young man who has now been accused of sedition because of a meeting he attended on his college campus. In this show you shouted this young man down, did not let him speak, turned off his mike while he struggled to make himself heard. You called him a terrorist. You said people like him are dangerous elements and wondered who was funding him. You told him he should be grateful for things that India has apparently given him and others like him. You even had a tweet for the purpose #FlashpointAfzal. We will not go into the extraordinary idiocy you displayed in your own version of what you are pleased to call an ‘argument’. It seems in the world you inhabit, and people like you inhabit, the nation is a god-given entity before the idea of which we must all lie prostrate in quaking terrified adulation. But leave all this aside for now, you are not a very intelligent man and your stupidity, dangerous though it is, is not my concern here.

What concerns me though is your style: you are a bully and a brute.  It may seem a strange thing to say, that it is how you say things more than the things you say that seem to bother me. Let me try and explain why and hopefully once I am done you will see that the things you say are not separate from how you say them. So, a few questions:

Did you even see the young man, Umar Khalid, in front of you? What did you see Arnab? Because you certainly didn’t see what I saw.

Continue reading “A Solicitous Enquiry after the Mental Health of Arnab Goswami”

Media and the Death of Democracy: Nissim Mannathukkaren

Guest Post by NISSIM MANNATHUKKAREN

We live in a world where there is more and more information, and less and less meaning—Jean Baudrillard

Recently, there has been an outpouring of scathing critique against Arnab Goswami and his television programme, The Newshour in some sections of the English-language Press. One magazine cover story called him, “The Man Who Killed TV News.” The immediate context of this critique is Goswami’s branding of some prominent ecological and political activists as “anti-national” and his calling for a ban on the Nirbahaya documentary and legal action against a competing channel which was supposed to be air the documentary. This unprecedented and shockingly ironic position against free speech by a leading media personality was rightfully termed by a critic “as low as a journalist can sink.”

While these criticisms of the “murderous rage” evoked by Goswami draped in the nationalist tri-colour every night and the punishment he metes out to his opponents in a “medieval-style kangaroo court,” also known as an “open debate,” are entirely apt and necessary, they also miss the forest for the trees. Goswami is only a symptom of the post-liberalization corporatized and privatized media landscape of India. If Goswami did not exist, he would have been created. It is not Goswami alone who has killed news, it is the vast majority of the media, especially, television that has done so. What is more obscene than Goswami’s execrable theatrics is how he is deeply enmeshed in the structures of capital and power that he seemingly rails against every night. These structures have not just enmeshed him, but the others as well who are aghast at his aesthetics (or the lack of it).  Continue reading “Media and the Death of Democracy: Nissim Mannathukkaren”