BARC pauses news channel ratings to review system amidst TRP scam probe
New Delhi, Oct 15: BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council) has decided to pause weekly ratings for news channels for three months. It said that it was reviewing its system amidst the row over alleged rigging of viewership ratings by three channels.
The suspension is applicable to English, Hindi, regional and business news channels.
BARC said the decision was taken to review and augment the current standards of measuring and reporting the data of niche genres, to improve their statistical robustness and to significantly hamper the potential attempts of infiltrating the panel homes.
The process of reviewing is expected to take around eight to twelve "including validation and testing under the supervision of BARCs Tech Comm, BARC said.
"Recent revelations have brought disrepute to the measurement agency and by extension the broadcast news media. The corrupted, compromised, irrationally fluctuating data is creating a false narrative on What India Watches and has been putting pressure on our members to take editorial calls that run counter to the journalistic values and ideals of journalism," Rajat Sharma, president of News Broadcasters Association said.
Earlier, the Supreme Court rejected a plea filed by Republic TV challenging the probe by the Mumbai police into the alleged TRP scam. The court however gave the channel the liberty to move the Bombay High Court.
The court however said that it is concerned that the Commissioners of Police have started giving interviews on cases.
The channel had moved the court challenging the probe. The Mumbai crime branch is probing the alleged manipulation in TRPs by soliciting and paying certain viewers to watch news channels round the clock. The police said that Republic TV, Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema were found to be manipulating the TRPs.
The police made four arrests in the case, which includes the owners of Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema. The probe began after the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) approached the police and filed a complaint in this regard.