Will 279 apologies, £ 20,000 penalty for hate speech change anything about Arnab Goswami’s channels?

Earlier this year, according to a submission to the UK broadcaster Ofcom, Arnab Goswami’s Republic of Bharat The team carried out “a comprehensive briefing to the management and the production team about hate speech and the recognition of derogatory statements”.

Anyone familiar with Goswami’s TV shows knows that he and his team have no difficulty in identifying such content. What his channels find much more difficult is keeping this type of material out of the air.

The British authorities also came to this conclusion. It brought in the Pro-Bharatiya Janata Party Republic of Bharat a sanction for a program that contained “non-contextualized hate speech” and “highly offensive” content. The regulatory authority’s initial results alone prompted Goswami’s channel to apologize “279 times” with the request that the regulatory authority should take no further action.

Ofcom announced on Wednesday that the broadcaster would be fined 20,000 pounds (Rs 20 lakh).

“In light of all of the circumstances … including the need to achieve a reasonable level of deterrence and the particularly grave nature of the Code violations in this instance and all of Licensee’s representations to date, Ofcom believes that a reasonable and one reasonable sanction would be a fine of £ 20,000, ”the regulator said in its order, with“ licensee ”referring to it Republic of Bharat. “Since the licensee has registered a number of violations within a short period of time, Ofcom asks the licensee to attend a meeting to discuss its compliance agreements.”

The decision was made because of a show called Poochta hai Bharat Aired on September 6, 2019, in which Goswami and his guests used the launch of India’s Chandrayaan 2 space mission as a springboard for a spate of hate speech against Pakistanis.

The ordinance states, among other things, that one of the guests on the program said, “Your scientists, doctors, leaders and politicians are all terrorists. Even their athletes ”,“ every child there is a terrorist. Every child is a terrorist. You are dealing with a terrorist unit. “

Goswami himself turned to the Pakistani people and said: “We make scientists, you make terrorists.”

This was Ofcom’s observation on such remarks:

“We viewed these statements as an expression of hatred based solely on the intolerance of the Pakistani people based on their nationality, and that the broadcasting of these statements spreads, incites, promotes and justifies such intolerance of the Pakistani people among the audience …

The program also referred to the Pakistani population as “terrorists” (even children), “beggars”, “thieves”, “backward”, compared them to donkeys and referred to them as “Paki”, a racist term that is highly offensive and unacceptable to a British audience …

While the discussion of the controversial issue of Kashmiri-India-Pakistan relations were legitimate subjects for exploration by the Bharat Republic, we felt that audiences probably did not expect hate speech or abusive or derogatory content regarding Pakistani language Seeing people broadcast on this channel will provide adequate contextual justification. “

While Ofcom was considering the matter, the Indian broadcaster had an opportunity to make some statements to the regulator. Republic of Bharat recognized “misjudgments in this program”. It told the regulator that the £ 20,000 fine “seriously threatened its ability to maintain the fine Republic of Bharat Kanal “. It said it ran at a loss and that it” didn’t even cover the cost of a month between its launch in August 2019 and March 2020 “.

The regulatory authority rejected these arguments with the words: “The licensee continues to operate despite his information on the financial situation. We therefore did not consider the evidence to support the licensee’s claim that the sanction would jeopardize its functionality and we believed that the level of the sanction was reasonable in the circumstances. “

While the footage in this case was aimed at Pakistanis, the Indian viewers are well acquainted with Goswami’s incendiary language about anyone who falls into his crosshairs that day. A short selection of his work makes it clear that the television presenter is equally happy to direct his anger at Indians, especially if they do not agree with his position or that of the Indian government.

Research by scientists Christophe Jaffrelot and Vihang Jumle found that material on Goswami’s channels is “predominantly in favor of the BJP” and tends to portray government critics as enemies of the country. Tejinder Singh Sodhi, former office manager of Republic TV, told Newslaundry Earlier this year his job was “that of a fighter – finding out what Omar Abdullah is saying, finding out what Mehbooba Mufti is saying, finding flaws in it and reporting that it is anti-national”.

Goswami’s channels have been at the forefront of the government’s campaign to blame Muslims for spreading the coronavirus. Its channels worked as megaphones for official propaganda about the Tablighi Jamaat, a story that fell apart earlier this month after a Delhi court acquitted all foreign members of the group accused of disregarding the lockdown guidelines.

The stations’ witch hunt against the girlfriend of a suicide film actor prompted the Bombay Supreme Court to consult an attorney in October Republic TV“If you become an investigator, prosecutor and judge, what good is it to us? Why are we here? ”The court also found that the broadcaster had portrayed the woman in a way that violated her rights.

Despite such questions from the Indian judiciary and the British Broadcasting Authority, Goswami’s close ties to the government – his channel was originally founded by Rajeev Chandrashekhar, a MP for the Bharatiya Janata party – has received broad support from the entire Indian ruling class. This only implies acceptance, but even encouragement of the brand language, which is a matter of course for the course on the market republic Channels.

Can we expect things to change for Goswami and its stations after 279 apologies were aired and a £ 20,000 fine was handed over which the station claimed could force closure in the UK and received this “full briefing” about hate speech?