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TRP row: Times Network ‘contemplates’ to sue BARC, alleges ‘large scale manipulation’ to help Republic TV

Times Network 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

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.

Times Network accuse BARC of manually reducing channel’s TRP

Furthermore, Times Network said that the press conference by Mumbai Police Joint Commissioner on December 25 last year has somehow ‘exposed’ the role of BARC officials in allegedly rigging data on the behest of Republic TV in 2017/2018. The news network stated that the Whatsapp and email correspondence, accessed by Mumbai Police, revealed that BARC officials ‘manually reduced’ the ratings of Times Now. It claimed that this gave Republic TV an unfair advantage over Times Network.

The news network also accused the BARC of not taking action against the accused and keeping the ‘matter under wraps’ even after ‘unearthing’ the irregularities. “The inaction as far as we can see is systemic and deliberate, as had it not been for the Mumbai Police investigators who stumbled upon this report in December 2020, BARC had no intention in the first place to either inform us as affected party or penalise the fraudulent broadcaster,” it said.

Time Network alleges heavy financial loss due to BARC

“This constitutes moral turpitude, breach of trust and puts a question on Code of conduct and Ethical standards of the present BARC Board and Management,” Times Network stated. It questioned whether such a Board and Management had the ability to ‘preside’ over a system that accounts for advertising revenue of ₹30,000 crores per annum.

“Due to this unacceptable and unpardonable act of BARC, Times Network has suffered huge financial losses and irreparable damage to its reputation/ goodwill. BCCL is contemplating all possible legal actions against BARC for non-redressal of its grievances, as available in law for wrongful loss caused. Times Network also intends to
initiate appropriate proceedings against the individual perpetrators of the fraud as per provisions of Criminal and Civil laws,” it concluded.

Navika Kumar and her moment of ‘sanskaar’ and ‘nostalgia’

After Mumbai Police leaked personal WhatsApp chat conversation of Republic TV chief Arnab Goswami with former BARC head Partho Dasgupta, Times Now’s Navika Kumar got quite emotional and nostalgic. During her show on these tapes, Navika spoke about her one-time mentor Arnab Goswami. In about 9 minute long monologue, she talked about how she filled in the chair vacated by Goswami after he left Times Now and started Republic.

Comparing Goswami’s exit from Times Now to Republic’s launch to that of a small bird which developed wings to fly away in sky, a visibly emotional Navika said that after Arnab left, the most difficult thing for her was to fill in his shoes. Navika said that when she was told she will be hosting The News Hour, a show that was associated with Arnab for twelve years, she had his shoes to fill. She then gives a lesson on morality over the allegations over the leaked conversation.

Mumbai Police accuses Republic TV of TRP manipulation

On the 8th of October, Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh held a press conference where he categorically stated that Mumbai police have been alerted about a new racket involving false television rating points (TRP). He said that three channels, including Republic TV and two other Marathi channels- Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema have been reportedly involved in distorting the apparatus used by BARC to rate television channels. The commissioner said that arrests have also been made in this regard. He further added that Republic TV’s bank accounts were under scanner and that their officials would be summoned soon.

Parambir Singh further said that the confidential contract was given by BARC to a company called Hansa Research which has filed the complaint against some former employees who misused the data on households where the TRP monitoring systems are installed. Interestingly, in this FIR that was filed by Hansa Research, Republic TV was not mentioned even once. The channel that was mentioned several times was India Today.

Several senior staffers of Republic TV, have been arrested and interrogated by Mumbai Police so far.

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OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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