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The Daily Fix: Arnab Goswami must realise that journalism is about questioning, not blind acceptance

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The Big Story: Democracy and dissent

The rabble-rousing tendencies of Times Now anchor Arnab Goswami have been written about copiously. As is obvious to even casual viewers, Goswami's prime time show often descends to the level of a kangaroo court, as the anchor condemns and harangues his targets in a tone that betrays near-hysteria.

Examples of this include the instance in May when Goswami went so far as to accuse a Muslim participant on his show of being a cover for the Indian Mujahideen terror group after the man disagreed with the anchor. On Tuesday, Goswami crossed the line again by calling for the arrest of journalists who do not toe the official line on the Kashmir conflict. The anchor labelled these journalists the “pro-Pak lobby”.

For someone who is among the most visible journalists in the country, it is baffling that Goswami has failed to understand one of the primary roles of journalism: to question power and hold the powerful to account. All liberal democracies acknowledge that the state poses a potential threat to freedom, and attempt to counter this danger by encouraging an independent media and strong civil society voices.

But the Times Now anchor on Tuesday seemed to have forgotten that, as he nodded in agreement with every word of the ruling party’s spokesperson, Sambit Patra, about gagging voices that challenged the Union government’s position on Kashmir. As if to reiterate the official line, a Union government-controlled Twitter handle on Tuesday went so far as to retweet a message that asked the Indian Army to “take care of these pro Pak presstitutes”.

This is a sad illustration of the state of the India media. Goswami and other sections of the media are giving currency to the notion that opposing the Indian government is immoral. By doing so, they are actually undermining Indian democracy. As the scientist Albert Einstein once noted, “Blind belief in authority is the greatest enemy of truth.”

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