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NBF demands BARC to release it's ratings for news genre on urgent basis

Dear Mr. Chopra, and members of BARC board,

In furtherance to our communication “NBF demands BARC to immediate and urgent release of ratings for news genre,” and dated September 9, 2021, and in failure of receiving a response from your side, we would like to highlight and bring to your notice a significant development with regard to the alleged TRP rigging case.

In this context, we herein yet again reiterate that BARC needs to initiate appropriate action to resume the release of TRP data for the news genre with immediate effect, a move that would save the news broadcasting industry, from the brink of collapse.

We would like to bring to your urgent attention how recent news events that have been widely reported across the media establish beyond doubt that the TRP case was a political concoction. It is well-documented in the public domain how statements of Sachin Vaze (the then investigator in the TRP case) recorded on 19.06.2021., 21.06.2021, & 11.07.2021 under the Provisions of sub-section (2) & (3) of Section 50 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 by the Enforcement Directorate clearly iterated that then Home Minister “Anil Deshmukh used to give the direction/ instructions” in the TRP case.

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Thus, it is, clear that the TRP case is nothing but a product of fabrications and fiction, spun on a political instruction, gratifying the selfish interest of few national channels at the cost of huge loss for the entire news broadcasting industry, consisting of more than 400 channels. In addition, the vested interests has jeopardized the entire growth of consumer-led companies, creative executives and advertising agencies, who play a critical role in fueling the consumption-led economic growth.

The confession statement filed last Friday in Mumbai brings to light that the entire case of alleged TRP rigging was a concocted story by few vested interests, to victimize the news broadcasting sector, which had outperformed during the year of 2020 — a year of pandemic in terms of viewership and performance.

The confession statements prove that there was never ever a case and BARC’s unilateral suspension of weekly individual ratings for all news channels for almost a year now was entirely uncalled for. Therefore, the suspension of ratings that has caused irreparable damage was a futile exercise, and executed without any basis.

Interestingly, the person who confessed about the TRP case being a politically motivated and concocted exercise is the same ex-police officer that BARC allegedly paid a Rs. 30 lakh bribe to, as per a plethora of reports available in the public domain. It may be recalled that the NBF wrote to you regarding these extremely serious and alarming allegations in April 2021, but did not receive a reply on the matter. The entire series of events and documented revelations create a very suspicious set of circumstances. It remains unfathomable that despite it all a fraud case is being used as an excuse to revoke ratings for the news genre.

We also bring to your attention the recent submission by BARC in the Bombay High Court, citing MIB Directive vide letter no 2/32/2020-PP&L, dated 15th February 2021, as the key and critical reason for with-holding release of Audience Measurement Ratings for news genre. A copy of the Bombay High Court Order (COMMERCIAL SUIT (L) NO. 14291 OF 2021) has been attached for your perusal.

We reiterate that the suspension of the release of TRP ratings for the news genre has put the present and future of over 400 news channels at stake, and the future of many advertisers and advertising agencies for close to a year now. Release of Television Audience Measurement Data is crucial and critical for news channels which have been performing their duty in public interest and upholding democracy at large.

The continued unexplainable suspension in the release of audience measurement data has led to huge financial distress and severe economic loss to the news genre, threatening job losses at a large scale. BARC’s continued silence on the issue of TRP data and the bribe they allegedly paid in the case has further deepened the suspicion of news channels impacted by the suspension of ratings.

In view of the ongoing crisis, we at NBF, the largest association of News channels, would like to reiterate that there was no legitimate reason, or rationale for suspension in ratings for news genre alone. Given that the recent statements in the case has established beyond doubt that the whole case was a hogwash rooted in motivated and malicious political instruction instead of facts.

The time has come and is no better than at this moment for BARC course corrects and puts into immediate action a free, fair and transparent ratings system releasing the data for the news genre. It is only this immediate action, after a year of wrongful targeting, that will allow the news broadcasters to be on a rightful level-playing field again.

We look forward to your urgent intervention in the matter.

Thanking you.

For & behalf of
News Broadcasters Federation

R. Jai Krishna


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