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NBF urges BARC India to divulge information of channels accused in TRP scam

The News Broadcasters Federation (NBF), India's largest industry body representing the combined - business and editorial interest of news broadcasters has written a letter to BARC India, CEO, Sunil Lulla, strongly urging him to make a clear public statement, naming the channels under monitoring and investigations for TRP manipulation, especially in the wake of disturbing developments including police action in the State of Maharashtra.

The letter says, "The current request assumes significance due to the ongoing police investigation, arrest, and remand of senior executives of our member channel - Republic Media Network. The police action and arrest undermines the effectiveness of the Disciplinary Committee of BARC, as an industry-led body. It is crucial when BARC is the sole audience measurement body, it should put an end to the spread of misinformation and baseless assumptions, which is causing a huge loss to the reputation of the industry, and also break the silence of BARC in the matter."

Adding further, "Such ongoing actions are setting a grave precedent, which we fear, can happen to any news broadcasters who are critical of the actions of the local state authorities and machineries in the public interest, which ultimately will threaten the very essence of democracy and Freedom of Speech and Expression."

"In addition, the BARC's decision to pause ratings without naming the specific channels under investigation has severely hurt the credibility of news channels, which is the underlying trust factor among our audiences. This casts a serious negative impact on the revenue and cash flows of the news channels; a double-whammy following the COVID-19 impact. Allegations against a few have jeopardized the whole news broadcasting industry, threatening its very existence" the letter concludes.

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