Arnab Goswami was firmly perched atop the Indian television totem pole. His 9 pm show on Times Now had the highest ratings of any English news channel, and while he had his share of detractors, he was fast transcending his status as a news anchor. He was becoming a pop culture phenomenon, one who was often lampooned, but never ignored.
He’s now given it all up. Goswami quit Times Now last night in a shock announcement.
And while there have been reports that he plans to start his own TV channel with a large digital footprint, Goswami had laid out his ambitions in a conference held in Moscow last year.
“The hegemony of western media has to end,” Goswami had told that panel in 2015. “Western media has has it too good for too long, and it has ruined the balance of power.”
He then went on to say that US and UK media contribute 74% of the source of global news, while all of Asia contributes just 3%. “India will be the next media capital of the world,” he said. While there are thousands of papers and publications and news channels in India, why is there no global news network from the country, he asked. “India’s already the software capital of the world,” he claimed. Why can’t it be the media capital?
He went on the criticize the BBC and CNN for their reporting on the Iraq war, and for not challenging American claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. He said that a single reporter from India, who was working with Times Now, had managed to reach Brussels while following the terrorist attacks in Paris. “We had a reporter with a selfie stick reporting live from Brussels, 4 hours before any of the companies that were worth millions of dollars got there,” he said.
“The time has come,” Goswami declared, “to provide a serious counter to global media sources like BBC and CNN.”
It is very likely that Goswami has quit Times Now to pursue these grand ambitions. At 43, he’s still young, and has already made his mark in India. He also seems passionate about building a large media conglomerate out out his home country. Taking his network global could be the next logical step.