Sivaganga Member of Parliament (MP) Karti Chidambaram has written to Chairman of Standing Committee on Information Technology Shashi Tharoor, asking him to receive a clarification and take measures in the issue surrounding Television Rating Points (TRPs) of TV news channels, that has come to light. The Mumbai police on Thursday arrested four persons, including employees working with Republic TV, for allegedly fixing television ratings.
In a letter, Karti Chidambaram said, “The recent issues surrounding Television Rating Points of television channels have cast doubts on the legitimacy and reliability of the system. The TRPs produce essential data on television audiences in India and have become the primary basis for advertising decisions.”
“Government advertising expenditure depends on this system, but public spending should not be based on flawed data. There is a need for further understanding this situation,” he said.
He requested the standing committee on Information Technology to take up the issue and seek necessary clarification. The MP said, “I request you to call before the Committee concerned, officials of the responsible ministry, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, to seek necessary clarification on the current situation and remedial measures.”
On Thursday, Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh said that Republic TV was found to be involved in a false TRP racket. He said that the people responsible for altering the TRPs will be arrested even if they are the director, promoter or other employees.
The channels also allegedly provided money for slum dwellers and non-English speaking people to keep the channel switched on during the day, to increase TRP ratings.
Republic TV’s editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami said that the Commissioner made false allegations against the channel. Goswami also said that he will file a defamation case against the officer. He added that the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) did not name the channel in the list.
The BARC, however, commended the Mumbai police and said that they will provide support if needed.