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David ‘Arnab Goswami’ promises to take on Goliath ‘Times Now’

MUMBAI: Taking on his former employer Times Network, Republic TV founder Arnab Goswami has said that the battle between his upcoming English news channel Republic TV and Times Now, of which he was the chief editor, is akin to a David vs Goliath battle.

In a veiled reference to Times Network, Arnab said that money power would fail while good content would eventually emerge as the winner in this fight between David and Goliath.

While observing that no power can crush a thought, he advised his arch-rival to outthink him.

Arnab Ficci F 2017

“And I stand here before you proudly to say Goliath has tried to crush me and already failed. Because you can’t crush a thought. David thought on his feet, Goliath did not. David had the speed and David out-thought Goliath. I want to tell Goliath today: Come, out-think me, if you can,” he said.

Arnab was giving a keynote address at FICCI Frames 2017 on ‘The changing face of news’.

“I have with me a bunch of Davids. Davids have emerged on their own. And they want to shackle the Davids. Because a bunch of Davids free is a threat to the Goliath. Our bunch of Davids will make old monopolies fall once again, as they have in the past,” he declared.

“Republic will ensure that new ones will come and these new ones – these new guys will be the ones that show the world from right here in India that content is king, not money. Money will fail and people will watch the screens that they believe in and not the screens that sell to them,” he added.

Giving his thoughts on the changes in TV news journalism, Arnab said that plain vanilla had no place in today’s India. Opinion, he said, was the future of journalism.

“They’ll tell you facts are sacred and opinion is free. I say facts are available and opinion is sacred. Opinion in the media is especially sacred because it is a differentiator between a journalism that is confrontational and a journalism that is happy to be docile and subdued. Opinion in the media is especially sacred because it is a differentiator between a journalism that choses to takes the right side of the truth and one that prefers to be falsely neutral in order to perpetuate the status-quo… opinionated media that has the potential to be activist. It is opinionated media that has the potential to be a change agent to being merely a supplier of information. I refuse to be simply a supplier of information.”

For someone who has made Mumbai his news headquarters, Arnab also chastised the ‘Lutyen’s Delhi’ media for their compromising journalism. Being away from capital had given him the freedom to pursue independent journalism fearlessly, he added.

He also referred to two recent incidents which could have been covered more vigorously by the media but were given a quiet burial. One is the hate crime against Indian techie Srinivas Kuchibotla in the US and the other the death of a 26-year-old TB patient in Hyderabad as the police fought over jurisdiction.

Arnab used these issues to bring home the point that the Indian media was abdicating its duty of highlighting issues affecting the masses.

“And the satiated Lutyens media was content in labelling it (Kuchibotla’s murder) as quote unquote ‘hate crime’. And I ask you today…isn’t there a dent needed in the Indian media to shake it up…to fight for families like that of Kuchibotla. How can you be so satiated in Lutyens Delhi?” he asked.

Arnab also noted that the future of English TV news was ‘Hinglish’. The English news channel must speak the language understood by the common man. He also said that Doon School accent alienated viewers.

“The focus is on India and the focus is on English but English done the Indian way. When I started off as a journalist…they said i should take pauses at the right places…..I won’t speak in the polished way..I will speak English the Indian way…I want to speak in the language that the 25-year-old in the Indian newsroom relates to,” he said.

He predicted that television would remain strong in the times to come and would outlive every other genre. TV and digital would co-exist. “TV and digital are collaborators. Digital will be the second screen,” Arnab noted.

He added that Republic and Republic World were India’s first entry to the newsgathering stage. His venture would be up and running in a few weeks from now, he hinted.

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