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TRP scam: BARC’s decision is one-sided and undemocratic, says NBF

The News Broadcasters Federation (NBF) has strongly objected to BARC’s statement on pausing audience estimates (ratings) of news channels. NBF is India’s largest industry association TV news channels representing the interests of news broadcasters from across the length and breadth of the country.

In a statement issued, NBF pointed out that BARC had not consulted the News Broadcasters Federation before such a crucial decision, which impacts news broadcasting industry, the single-largest genre within television sector. “BARC would not have taken any such crucial decision if it had involved any genre, without consulting GECs member channels,” NBF maintained.

It further noted, “BARC meters do not single out the news genre in its audience measurement system. If BARC sincerely wants to review and augment its system, it should pause ratings for all genres, including General Entertainment Channels (GEC), Sports, Infotainment, Movies, Music, Kids, Youth and Lifestyle.”

NBF also said that information had come out recently about a channel which had been found guilty of TRP manipulation and had been fined by BARC Disciplinary Committee. “NBF is shocked that a member of the same channel has been included on the board of BARC. It’s not just conflict of interest and no reasonable decision making process can happen with a person named in ratings manipulations. What has happened itself is shocking. Now the matter is in public domain, this individual on the Board of BARC should voluntarily remove the said executive from the Board of Directors for a period of at least one year,” NBF asserted.

“The decision is unilateral, one-sided and undemocratic, impacting and targeting one single genre within the broadcasting ecosystem,” said R Jai Krishna, General-Secretary, and News Broadcasters Federation. “The decision will severely impact news broadcasters, who have seen a surge in ratings despite the challenges of a lower-than-expected economic growth that has impacted their revenues already, in addition to the financial impact created by the lockdown to prevent spread of COVID-19.”

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