Pune: Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami faces a new complaint, this time under the Cable Televisions Network (Regulation) Act, 1995, for allegedly running the television channel “to create communal hatred, religious polarisation and threatening national integrity”.
Social activist Nilesh Navlakha last month lodged a criminal complaint with the Commissioner of Police, Pune, through his lawyer Asim Sarode, under Section 2 of the Act.
“We have narrated six prominent, recent debate shows conducted by Goswami in which his arguments and words used were communal in nature which he kept repeating in his shows. The words and tonality are intended to promote communal attitudes and news is based on religious innuendos and half-truths,” Sarode contended.
This leads to propaganda based on hatred, religious polarization and communal divide, said Navlakha in a statement. He further said that the misuse of freedom of expression by Goswami and his channel posed a serious threat before the independent media as it violates the freedom of expression of the viewers, as it is the viewers’ right to get correct, complete and true information.
Elaborating about Goswami’s behaviour, Navlakha said that he has created what is termed ‘Impulse Control Disorder’ in psychiatry.
Sarode said: “Intermittent Explosive Disorder is a kind of ‘impulse control disorder’ which involves sudden episodes of impulsive, aggressive, violent behaviour or angry verbal outbursts in which you react grossly out of proportion to the situation.”
They said that there are some more media persons displaying such tendencies in Hindi and English journalism, showing whatever is convenient and blow it out of proportion to give meanings which are out-of-context and disrupts the fabric of democracy while not fitting into journalism’s ethics.
The complaint also alleged that Goswami and his channel are actually into “brainwashing” the viewers in a way that they will get converted into haters of some communities and terror for some religions.
“This is not less than running an organised crime syndicate of making the human minds to follow a fanatic terrorist thought process. When WhatsApp group admins are being booked under the law, then why the CTNRA provisions are not being invoked against such tendencies,” Sarode asked.
In the complaint, it is pointed out how eminent persons have walked out of Goswami’s shows because of his name-calling tactics, like labelling cricketer Sachin Tendulkar “anti-national” in one of his shows.
Navlakha and Sarode claimed that Goswami has violated the Programme Code under the CTNRA, the channel has indicated it is against sovereignty, integrity and security as also against public order, decency and morality, making it a serious issue and a cognizable offence.
It urged the Pune police chief to take suitable action against the wrongs committed to disturb the peace, law and order in society and book Goswami under the CTNRA Section’s 16, which attracts a jail term of two years plus fine.