A day after Times Now threatened to sue nodal TRP measuring body, Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), over its supposed inaction against Republic TV for manipulating data, the latter has now debunked all allegations levelled by Times Now.
In a statement, Republic TV hinted at a large political conspiracy against its Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami and exposed attempts made to tarnish the image of the news organisation. While addressing the issue of Whatsapp chats leaked by the Mumbai Police, Republic TV said, “…there is not one line, suggestion or shred of evidence in these purported WhatsApp chats which contain any wrongdoing or TRP manipulation by the Republic Media Network.”
Besides, the news channel also rubbished the allegations of bribery by emphasising that not a single sentence in the chats support the claims. While threatening legal action, Republic TV stated, “TIMES NOW has led a group of media which has tried to attribute statements by a third party to Mr Arnab Goswami. The Republic Media Network believes there is a commercial conspiracy behind this and intends to take the strongest legal action against these “journalists”, who will be made responsible for every word and every falsehood they have uttered.”
Whatsapp chats expose data manipulation by Times Now
Republic TV said in its statement that the Whatsapp chats expose the misuse of landing pages by Times Now. Quoting an excerpt from the chats of Arnab Goswami, dating back to July 6, 2017, it said, “just bringing to your attention Gujarat 10-75 lac market growth in time spent from 2 min to 18 min and impressions up by 763% for Times Now seems suspicious.”
The news network further pointed out that the ratings of Times Now fell, following the implementation of the Outlier policy of BARC. Republic TV said that since Times Now used landing pages to artificially increase the ratings, it was cleaned by the computerised process used by BARC. “It shows that the reduction in TIMES NOW’s numbers was a result of the implementation of the Outlier Policy by BARC and NOT as a result of any TRP manipulation,” Republic TV reiterated.
The news channel emphasised, “The algorithmic implementation of the Outlier Policy came in the way of TIMES NOW’s rampant use of landing pages to shroud the reality that the channel was desperate to counter Mr. Arnab Goswami’s popularity by paying large amounts of money across India through landing pages.” It also added, “Therefore, it is clear that TIMES NOW is angry that their use of landing pages and other inappropriate action was exposed to both BARC and to the nation by the Republic Media Network. TIMES NOW should ask itself how far will it go to conceal facts, misreport realities, breach journalistic ethics, and perpetuate falsehoods.”
Nexus between Lutyens media, Congress and Times Now
In its statement, Republic TV accused Times Now of covering up key facts of the BARC Forensic Report, which has categorically named a Hindi news channel of pre-fixing the TRP ratings in collusion with some BARC officials to retain No.1 spot in the Hindi news genre. “Interestingly, the Hindi news channel which has been found guilty of conspiring with BARC officials to pre-fix ratings is part of a Lutyens industry cartel along with TIMES NOW,” the statement read.
Accusing Times Now of selectivity and keeping its viewers in darkness, Republic TV said, “It is, therefore, clear that TIMES NOW has only acted with malice, in breach of journalistic ethics and in contravention to all due expectations from a media house, with the sole motive to prejudice the minds of Republic TV’s viewers and the public at large, to settle a personal score, commercial gain and vengeance.”
Hinting at the ‘political nexus’ between Republic TV and There is open collusion between Times Now and the Congress Party, and others in the media industry, goaded on by the personal animosity these people have against Mr. Arnab Goswami, for his courageous but uncomfortable stands on matters of public importance. Republic TV, therefore, requested the Competition Commission of India to investigate collusion in the media industry and selective targetting of Arnab Goswami.
Times Network contemplates suing BARC
Amidst the ongoing controversy surrounding the fake TRP scam, Times Network has announced that it is contemplating legal action against the nodal TRP measuring body, BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council). The new development comes days after Navika Kumar went on an emotional monologue about Republic TV Editor Arnab Goswami.
In a statement, it claimed that ever since the launch of Republic TV in 2017, Times Network has been suspecting foul play by its competitor channel through the illegal use of multiple LCNs (Landing Channel Numbers). The channel alleged that Republic TV has been engaging in ‘large scale manipulation of ratings’.
“We also found significant abnormalities in Market wise ratings of that channel clearly indicating ground level tampering and/or deliberate intervention at the raw data level to favour them,” it claimed. Times Network further alleged that BARC has been indifferent to the complaints raised by the channel against republic TV for almost 2 years, resulting in no resolution.