NBF seeks clarity from BARC in TRP manipulation case

NBF VP claims that Mumbai police is acting in a vendetta against Republic TV.

NEW DELHI: In a fresh turn of events in the TRP manipulation scam, News Broadcasters Federation (NBF) has sought clarification from the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) over the way the matter is being handled by the Mumbai police. 

Last evening, NBF vice-president and Prag News CEO Sanjive Narain questioned the regulator on-air while speaking to Republic TV CEO and editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami on his show. He said, “The country deserves to know the structure of BARC and people who are running it. They are answerable not just to Republic TV but also 70-80 other news channels that they are monitoring. They have to come out with an open statement regarding the case.”

Further, he lambasted the Maharashtra government and the Mumbai police for their investigation in the case. He also raised questions on the legal stance on the dual-frequency issue as well. 

“Running on dual-frequency was never a criminal offence and it still is not. No one can run their channels directly. They have to pay the carriage fee to the MSO. The MSO is the decision-maker. In case, if there was a TRAI regulation regarding this, you must be questioning the MSOs.”

He added that it seemed like the actions of the law enforcement authorities is a clear case of vendetta against the promoters of  Republic Media. 

Additionally, Twenty Four chief editor Sreekandan Nair pointed out that the matter of rigging ratings must be handled by either TRAI or BARC, and not by the Mumbai police. 

The Republic has been caught in the eye of a storm after the Mumbai police publicly claimed to have unearthed a TRP manipulation racket in the city back in October. Since then, the channel's employees and members of the core management have been called in for questioning. 12 arrests have been made in the case, the latest being that of Republic CEO Vikas Khanchandani. The NBF had issued a statement calling Khanchandani's arrest and two-day remand in police custody "highly disturbing."

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