Why did Modi gov’t rush to soothe anchor Arnab’s bruised ego?

DM Monitoring

Delhi: On Tuesday, comedian Kunal Kamra found himself on the same flight as Republic TV anchor Arnab Goswami, who is famous for his aggressive journalism that, his critics claim, is most often deployed to protect the interests of the Bharatiya Janata Party and its governments. Kamra did what Goswami has done many times before: he proceeded to ask a reluctant Goswami some aggressive questions.
Kamra then released a video of the incident.
This set off an extraordinary chain reaction. Within a few hours, Indigo, the airline aboard whose aircraft the exchange had occurred, suspended Kamra from flying for six months. It argued that “his conduct onboard was unacceptable behaviour”. This was communicated via the social media website Twitter. In its message, Indigo tagged the Union minister of civil aviation.
The Union minister of civil aviation then himself took action, quoting Indigo’s action to “advise other airlines to impose similar restrictions on the person concerned”. Soon, three other airlines — Air India, SpiceJet and GoAir — also banned Kamra from travelling on their flights “until further notice”, each making sure to tag the civil aviation minister.
Not only was a Union minister’s public intervention on behalf of Goswami extraordinary, the action it prompted did not, on the face of it, seem to have followed due procedure. As per the Union government’s own rules, the highest penalty for unruly behaviour on flights, if limited to verbal harassment, is a flying ban for three months. Yet Kamra was banned for six months.
Not only was the action against Kamra improper, it was arbitrary. In 2017, when the Ravindra Gaikwad from the Shiv Sena (then a Bharatiya Janata Party ally) assaulted Air India crew members, the Modi government actually directed Air India to revoke his ban after just 14 days. Ironically, Goswami’s own Republic news channel did the exact same thing as Kamra in 2017, accosting a politician on a plan and forcibly asking him questions. No action was taken at the time.
The extraordinary, government-led action against Kamra highlights an uncomfortable phenomenon: large sections of the Indian media today are genuflecting to the government and being rewarded for it.