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TRP fraud: Republic TV and other TV channels under investigation

Rida Shaikh

Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh addressed a press conference on Thursday and said that the Mumbai Police is currently probing an alleged TRP fraud where certain news channels manipulated BARC data to boost their ratings. He mentioned the names of Republic TV, Fakt Marathi, and Box Cinema channels.

The Police Commissioner said that they are presently involved in distorting the apparatus used by BARC to rate television channels.

The process of calculating the TRP is based on the numbers of confidential set of households who run the TV channel. According to Param Bir Singh, the accused would bribe certain households and ask them to run some channels continuously even if they were not home. BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council) releases the weekly rating points for TV Channels in India. BARC’s officials are also being questioned in connection with the case.

BARC issued a statement later on Thursday. The statement said, “As in all our previous cases of suspected panel homes intrusions, BARC India continues to follow its established and disciplinary guidelines. BARC remains steadfastly true to its purpose to  accurately and faithfully report ‘What India Watches.’ BARC India appreciates the effort of the Mumbai Police and will proved the support asked of it.”

Param Bir Singh said two people were arrested and produced in Court and the Mumbai Police have gotten their custody. One of the accused has been arrested with Rs 20 lakh and the other one has been arrested with Rs 8.5 lakh. He also added that the owners of Marathi channel Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema under sections 409 and 420 of IPC.

Republic TV is a suspect under TRP manipulation. Promoters and other employees of Republic TV will be summoned and questioned. Editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami will also be summoned before the investigating team.

Param Bir Singh claimed, “The culprits, whoever they may be, will be investigated and we will take this fraud case to its logical conclusion.”

 

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