The News Broadcasting Standards Authority has directed Republic TV to air a full-screen apology to viewers for derogatory comments made by its Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami during a debate in January.
The authority, an independent body set up by the News Broadcasters Association, issued the order on August 30 based on a complaint by a man named A Singh. Singh has claimed that the channel falsely accused him of harassing its reporter at Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani’s rally on January 9. The journalist was reporting about the purported absence of people at the event when she was heckled by several people and had to be escorted away by the police.
“I want their faces circled more,” Goswami said during his show that night while playing a video of the incident. “I want the family members of these cheap, perverse goons to watch [them] doing this…at this event which was the ‘Jignesh flop show’. Let’s name and shame these people.”
The authority asked the channel to run the apology before Goswami’s 9 pm flagship show on September 7.
“The footage does not show use of any objectionable words by the complainant or any gesture which can be described as ‘lewd’ or ‘threatening’,” the News Broadcasting Standards Authority said in its order. “Use of words like ‘I am going to show these crude, lewd hyenas/show the dirty faces of lewd, cheap, vulgar, sexist, pervert anti-Indian goons’ by Mr Arnab Goswami who was anchoring the programme was totally unwarranted and unjustified and the same was in violation of the broadcasting standards.”
The channel had removed the video from its website and YouTube after the complainant sent them several emails, The Wire reported.
On January 10, Republic TV had issued a public apology to ABP News reporter Jainendra Kumar, who was among the people that Goswami had accused of harassing his channel’s journalist. The channel had circled Kumar’s face without realising he was another reporter covering the event. Later, the channel said its actions were “inadvertent” and the result of an error by the video editor.