Adjust your volume, Arnab Goswami is back. The former Newshour anchor, who quit his job running news channel TimesNow last year, has given us the first glimpses of his next avatar as he gets set to launch his new venture, called Republic. In a speech at the Under 25 Summit in Bengaluru, Goswami told a cheering audience that this is the launch of his “movement” and asked them if they would be backing Republic.
“Will you back Republic when we run behind politicians to ensure that accountability is back in your hands, will you back me?” Goswami asked the cheering audience. “Will you back Republic when we fight for merit on your behalf? Will you back Republic when a big corporate media house activates its dirty tricks department to go after young independent journalists who want nothing but their independence and their right to an independent job, will you stand by me then?”
Republic is set to be a news operation built in the mould of TimesNow, the channel owned by the Times Group that Goswami helped establish. TimesNow’s news-gathering focused on quick newsbreaks and an opinionated editorial line through the day, leading up to Goswami’s own primetime debate show, which usually had ratings far ahead of the competition.
The anchor has promised that Republic will be different, telling ScoopWhoop that there are some fundamental issues with the way the media is currently run which he hopes to help correct.
At TimesNow, Goswami was famous for a larger-than-life approach to news television, made famous by the phrase, “the nation wants to know.” The early social media marketing efforts from Republic seem to pick up from there, in trying to sell it as a movement.
“For 10 years, in Lutyens’ Delhi, I have seen the decay and near demise of this beautiful profession of journalism that has been compromised beyond belief,” YourStory reported Goswami as saying at the event in Bengaluru. “You and me together will save Indian journalism from the influence of Lutyens’ Delhi.”
He also told the crowd, according to YourStory, what the functioning principles of his approach to journalism are.
“People have asked me: What is the ingredient of your journalism? For me, it is not rocket science. It is a list of dos and don’ts. It is about right and wrong. It is not a narration of facts. People ask me why don’t you depend on facts, I tell them if I depend on facts I would not be a journalist I would be Wikipedia.”
So far Republic has not officially announced the details of the news channel, with Goswami also telling people that he wants to break into the digital space. But the organisation’s hiring over the last few months has focused on television journalists, and its Twitter account hinted at a forthcoming TV presence by telling people that they can follow along on social “until we hit your screens.”
Goswami has insisted that Republic will be a global venture along the lines of CNN or BBC, a rather ambitious statement that even the well-funded Zee has been unable to live up to with its World Is One Network. Rumours suggest Goswami will officially launch in some form on January 26, India’s Republic Day, with the aim of capitalising on the news that will emerge out of the five states going to the polls over February and March, although it remains unclear whether Republic has all of the necessary infrastructure in place for the channel to go air so soon.