The Republic TV, founded by noted news anchor and journalist Arnab Goswami, is reportedly facing a drop in the viewership and rating following its scathing criticism against the Kerala Government on matters related to the political violence and killing of an RSS worker.
The TV channel which was launched on May 6 had earlier faced allegations, raised by the rival channels, including its “unethical distribution practices”. Republic TV’s outrageous and one-sided reporting on the Sunanda Pushkar case had also caused public dismay.
The Republic TV, owned by ARG Outlier, is funded by Asianet News Online Private Limited, headed by Rajya Sabha MP Rajiv Chandrashekhar.
When Kerala was struggling with the turmoil caused by the political violence, said to be between the RSS and CPI (M) workers, a fortnight ago, the national media viewed the matter as a prime issue and had carried out special programmes and discussions based on the ‘murder politics’ of CPI (M).
Republic TV in its programmes aired on those days, had attacked the Kerala Government for doing nothing to control violence. This might have irked the viewers from Kerala who retaliated by giving a meager Facebook rating for the TV channel. Republic TV which was consistently keeping the rating at around 4.5 had dipped to 2.6 the last day. Following this the TV channel has done away with its rating system.
It is observed that Rajiv, who is a Rajya Sabha MP from Karnataka, has great influence on the views and stands taken by the news channel on political and social matters. Rajiv, who hails from Kerala, is also serving as the vice-chairman of the National Democratic Alliance in the State.
The Republic TV’s Facebook page was flooded with comments defending the stand of the Kerala Government as well as those against Arnab and his TV channel. Some of them said they wished to give a zero or negative rating for the news channel if they could do so with the rating mechanism. While some said that they hated the channel for its skewed reporting, some other Keralites asked Arnab to get some knowledge about the state. The people who took to FB to challenge the TV channel’s reporting on the violence had also stated that they liked everything about their State which is in every sense a true ‘God’s own country.’ “We are happy with our Government and the police,” reads one comment.
Several people who posted comments on an Android application “News Republic”, believing it to be the official Android application of the channel at Playstore, had alleged the Republic TV was a propaganda channel which only provided sensational and fake news. One person commented about Arnab that the news anchor was a liar possessing good English. Another pointed out that the channel would never work for a democratic India instead it spoke only for the BJP and the RSS. Some even asked the channel to do programmes on the good ruling of the former Congress-led Governments instead of discussing about the current ruling and its policies. However, “News Republic” officials clarified to The Kochi Post that, “News Republic” is not the official android application of Republic TV and “News Republic” is only an application that gathers news from around 1650 media across the world.
Earlier a week after the channel was launched, it had witnessed a sudden drop in viewership after TRAI (Telephone Regulatory Authority of India) intervened following several English news channels finding out that the Republic TV was drawing high viewership through unethical practices including registering under different genre. The TRAI had then stepped in to do away with the multiple logical channel number (LCN) which allowed the TV channels to register under different genres that includes news, entertainment and movie, among others.
(Picture of Arnab Goswami from his official FB page)