Did news channels fabricate live data on election counting day to push up TRPs?

Viewers have often wondered why various news channels show different data for live election results on a counting day.

Earlier it was thought that this could be due to channels using different “sources” to gather data, but it seems that this could be a complete fraud.

ABP News vs Times Now
Are news channels resorting to committing scams just to get ahead and attract TRPs?

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This issue was raided by Times Now’s Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami during the live coverage of counting results for Jharkhand and Jammu & Kashmir assembly elections.

Arnab claimed that other news channels were “fudging” data to show that they were ahead of Times Now and the fastest in bringing out news, and thus cheating the viewers.

He questioned how could other channels show trends for more seats than for which information was available from official sources e.g. the Election Commission website or reliable sources e.g. data analysis company like Nielsen.

This is the question common viewers have always asked and wondered, but this is the first time a mainstream popular journalist has posted it.

Arnab concluded that the news channels were projecting limited data on a wider number of seats to fool viewers into believing that they had “faster sources” and thus viewers should watch only Times Now. He called their data “manufactured”:

If the TV channels are really fabricating data and using statistical projections to show as if they have information on a larger number of assembly seats, it is very unethical. It can’t be justified by claiming some data analysis.

Live results are no opinion polls where a news channel can project data and based studio debates on those. It is playing with facts and real information. It is highly unscrupulous and amounts to misleading the common man.

TV news channels don’t fall under the purview of Press Council of India so most probably they will go unpunished. However, this fact needs to be highlighted and people should know how low media has fallen in their senseless and sensationalist chase of TRPs.

You know how bad it is when a sensationalist TRP seeking journalist like Arnab Goswami comes out to be the most principled one.


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