A day after a complaint was registered against India Today TV for manipulating the TRP, the media network has brazened out to push misleading claims to declare Republic TV as a guilty in the ‘Fake TRP’ case despite having no proof to substantiate their claim.
On October 6, Hansa Research Group Private Limited, the company responsible for installing and maintaining the Bar-O-Meter of the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), had registered an FIR alleging manipulation of Bar-o-meters.
During the investigation, it was revealed that India Today and other channels had instigated one Vishal Bhandari and had offered money to households with the meters to keep their TV tuned to those channels. Audio has also surfaced where the main witness, Tejal Solanki, can be heard confessing on record that her son was asked to watch India Today in order to manipulate their TRP.
However, on Thursday, the Mumbai police addressed a press conference and made some sensational claims against some TV channels alleging that they were manipulating TRP ratings. The Mumbai Police commissioner Param Bir Singh had said that three TV channels, including Republic TV, were involved in manipulating viewership data of BARC by paying those households where Bar-o-meters, the devices that track TV viewership, are installed.
The Police commissioner said that the arrested persons had admitted that Republic TV and two other Marathi Channels were involved in the scam, and the owners of Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema channels have been arrested.
Despite India Today being named in the FIR and named by the witness in the case, the Mumbai Police commissioner did not named them and claimed that Republic TV has been found to be bribing viewers to fake TRP data.
India Today derides Republic TV, accuses them of manipulation
Soon after the press conference, India Toady, which is fighting an unsuccessful TRP war with the Republic TV, jumped onto the scene to accuse Republic TV of indulging in manipulating viewership data. India Today went on overdrive trying to deride Republic TV and Arnab Goswami.
India Today News Director, Rahul Kanwal, who was earlier caught lying about BARC ratings, went on a long rant trying to deride Arnab Goswami and India Today as well.
However, the FIR was then accessed by Republic TV and also by OpIndia has revealed that the name of Republic TV has not been mentioned in the FIR anywhere. In fact, it was India Today that was mentioned in the FIR along with some other channels that were not explicitly named.
In a major twist to the case, the FIR specifically named India Today as an accused in the case contrarian to the claims made by India Today that it was Republic TV which was mentioned in the FIR.
India Today brazens it out, shows notice to claim Republic TV is an accused
Despite being named in the FIR, India Today has continued to brazen it out and went to pin the blame on Republic TV in the ‘Fake TRP’ case. By citing a crime branch notice by the Mumbai Police to BARC, the ‘journalists’ at India Today tried to manipulate the viewers to claim that Republic TV is an accused in the case.
Chaiti Narula, an anchor at India Today, posted the crime branch notice on Twitter, to display a notice issued to BARC under section 91 of the CrPC to state that Republic TV has been named in the ‘Fake TRP’ case.
Narula, who claims to be a journalist, not only failed to differentiate between a notice issued by the Mumbai Police to BARC seeking their presence in the investigation and an FIR, which incidentally names her own channel India Today, but also went onto misinform public that Republic TV has been named in the FIR.
Not just Chaiti Narula, many other India Today journalists latched on to the same Mumbai Police notice issued to BARC claim some sort of ‘moral victory’.
Ashutosh Mishra, another ‘journalist’ at India Today, also flaunted the same notice issued to BARC and attempted to pass it off as an FIR in the case.
If we look at the notice issued by Mumbai Police to BARC carefully, it says that the accused in the case has revealed that he was paid to allow installation of BARC meters at their houses to watch Republic TV garner more viewership to the channel. Interestingly, the FIR in the case does not name Republic TV contrary to what Mumbai Police’s notice mentions.
What is even more interesting is that while the FIR was registered on 6th October and specifically named India Today, the Mumbai Police, instead of investigating India Today, sent a notice to BARC on 7th to get the viewership data of Republic TV. A day later, on the 8th, Mumbai Police Commissioner Parambir Singh named Republic TV on national TV. Evidently, no investigation against India Today seems to have been conducted even after they were named specifically in the FIR.
Even as India Today continue to do all the theatrics to change the narrative in the ongoing ‘Fake TRP’ case, they have been brazening it out, flashing the dubious notice by the Mumbai police. It is also not clear why the Mumbai Police Commissioner named Republic TV when it was India Today that was named in their FIR and mentioned by witnesses for manipulating TRP data.
Ironically, the anchors at India Today are on a shouting spree against Republic TV of manipulating numbers even as they themselves were named in the FIR.