Republic TV journalists hound Shashi Tharoor over Sunanda Pushkar case, call him 'coward', 'killer'

The growing animosity between the Arnab Goswami-led-Republic TV and Shashi Tharoor has reached a fever-pitch in the past week. New footage has emerged of Republic TV journalists interrupting Tharoor during a press conference about Congress party policy and asking him to answer their questions regarding the death of Sunanda Pushkar. On choosing to ignore questions not pertaining to the conference, Republic TV journalists, hounded the Congress leader in a way which can only be described as sheer harassment.

Armed with microphones and a camera, Republic TV journalists surrounded Shashi Tharoor outside the press conference. With repeated chants of 'Mr. Tharoor' echoing throughout the video, a mental flashback of Arnab Goswami is unavoidable. The reporters, in the video, are seen following Tharoor as he tries to exit the press conference, with chants of 'Why are you running away like a coward, Mr.Tharoor?'

The 'onslaught'  of questions, as the channel itself chose to call it, forced a response from Shashi Tharoor who called Republic TV 'the digital equivalent of a toilet roll. As the video progresses, it is clear that this comment was not taken lightly by the channel and was deemed 'abrasive' and 'condemnable' language.

The reporters are seen in the video asking the politician,“Why are you running, Mr Tharoor?”, while another shouts, “We will keep asking our questions. Why aren’t you answering our questions? Why are you trying to run away?” A third voice calls the former Union minister a “coward” and "killer" for dodging questions on the death of his wife Sunanda Pushkar.

If comparisons drawn to toilets are called abrasive, then unsubstantially calling a person a 'killer' and a 'coward' also seem unnecessary, to say the least.

Congress leader Divya Spandana tweeted a video of the incident highlighting a Republic TV reporter shoving Shashi Tharoor in quest for the mythical 'answer' we associate with Arnab.

The death they were referring to is still being investigated by the police. Shashi Tharoor has previously taken part in police investigations regarding the death of Sunanda Pushkar. Even though the case hasn't been solved, Republic TV started their 'onslaught' in May and went after Shashi Tharoor with a Goswami-fuelled vengeance.

File image of Shashi Tharoor. AFP

File image of Shashi Tharoor. AFP

According to PTICongress MP Shashi Tharoor on 26 May had filed a civil defamation suit against Arnab Goswami and newly-launched news channel Republic TV in the Delhi High Court claiming damages and compensation of Rs 2 crore for allegedly making defamatory remarks towards him while airing news relating to the death of his wife Sunanda Pushkar.

The Delhi High Court had later observed that the news channel can air stories by stating the facts related to the investigation into the death of Pushkar, but cannot call the MP a 'criminal', according to the report.

The Lok Sabha MP from Thiruvananthapuram had also sought a direction from the high court to restrain the TV channel from broadcasting any show relating to the death of his wife till the investigation is completed by the Delhi police. According to the report, the Congress leader, in his lawsuit, made Goswami and Arg Outlier Media Asianet News Private Limited, the company which owns Republic TV, as parties.

As the issue moved on though, the channel seemed reluctant to let it go. Appearing more like paparazzi, the channel continued to pester the leader on his views on the case. The Delhi High Court on Friday sought a response from journalist Arnab Goswami and his channel Republic TV on Tharoor's plea to refrain from 'misreporting' his wife Sunanda Pushkar's death and asked them to respect his 'right to silence'.

This development came after this video was shot. Justice Manmohan issued notice to Goswami and Republic TV after Tharoor alleged that they continued to engage in "defaming and maligning" him despite an assurance given in the court on 29 May by their counsel, according to a PTI report.

Taking note of this, the bench said, "You (Goswami and the channel) have to respect Tharoor's right to silence."

Senior advocate Salman Khurshid, appearing for Tharoor, submitted that the court must direct Goswami and the channel to not mention the expression "murder of Sunanda Pushkar", as it is yet to be established by a competent court that her death was "murder", to ensure the trial was not prejudiced.

Maybe now, Republic TV will understand the obvious and big difference between dedicated journalism and harassment.

Updated Date: Aug 06, 2017 08:04 AM

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