Taking a whack at Arnab Goswami is on the wishlist of his legion of detractors. Indeed, the television anchor seems to revel in public revulsion as night after night he hectors and bullies his hapless guests, especially if they happened to be Pakistanis. Now that there is a threat to him from a Pakistan-based terror organisation, and he has been given Y class security, much reaction online has been far from sympathetic.
He has been trolled viciously, the mildest criticism being some kvetching and grumbling that the anchor is being protected at a cost to the taxpayer. But then so are many politicians, some of whom probably do not face as much of a threat as Goswami.
Now you could say Goswami asked for it with his hyper patriotism and his consistent belabouring of Pakistani-sponsored terror. He often does not seem to differentiate between the Pakistani state, its people, its army, its intelligence agencies and terrorists. They are all bad, bad, bad, according to him. Whenever he has a Pakistani guest, he either does not let them speak, or smacks them down sharply when they try to get a word in edgeways.
But, if there is a threat perception and this has clearly been verified by the intelligence agencies before giving him security, it is inappropriate to subject him to attack on this. There is much he can be attacked on but being given security is not one of them. There is hardly a neta today who does not get security and gets it often on flimsy grounds. We tolerate this even though that security often hampers us in public places. A terror threat is a serious matter and should be treated as such. Article 21 of the Constitution says: “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to the procedure established by law.” In tandem with several court judgments on the issue of security to those under threat, the government is obliged to provide Goswami security. Anyone who feels so strongly can challenge it in court. This is not the first time a journalist has been given security cover, there have been several instances. So let us not single out Goswami for these online attacks. He is entitled to security whether we like it or not, and this is not an issue on which to pillory him.