News Broadcasters Association shocked to see Whatsapp conversation between BARC and Arnab Goswami
Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India`s CEO Partho Dasgupta and Republic TV`S Arnab Goswami had a conversation on WhatsApp and the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) stated on Monday that it was shocking to see hundred`s of messages between them.
“These messages clearly establish collusion between the two in manipulating ratings to garner greater viewership numbers for Republic TV month after month by fraudulently manually reducing ratings of other channels to give Republic TV an unfair advantage,” said NBA.
It added, “These WhatsApp messages not only reflect manipulation of ratings but is also about power play. The messages exchanged go on to refer to the appointment of Secretaries, Cabinet reshuffle, access to the PMO, and the workings of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.”
The allegation made by the NBA that ratings were being manipulated by a non-NBA member broadcaster. This confirms the allegations made by the NBA in the last 4 years.
The IBF membership of Republic TV should be suspended with immediate effect till the case related to manipulation of ratings is pending in the court, the NBA demanded.
“NBA Board is also of the view that the manipulation of ratings by Republic TV has immensely damaged the reputation of the broadcast industry and therefore it should be kept out of BARC rating system till final court order,” the release added.
“It shows that there are no checks and balances and the ability of a few within BARC to easily change the ratings as they deemed fit, making the system subjective to the whims and fancy of the management versus being an objective transparent system. The Oversight Committee with no representation of broadcasters and just consultants paid by BARC is an eyewash to show autonomy,” they said.
“NBA strongly demands that action should be taken by BARC against these dubious actors, legal and police action should also be taken against those who are responsible for ruining the credibility of BARC and threaten to damage the credibility of the news broadcast business have hitherto gone about their business without any consequences or fear thereof,” they added.
“This is a glaring example of the systemic lack of transparency that has prevailed right since the inception of BARC”.
“Not only did BARC not share the data with NBA on grounds of confidentiality, but no action was also taken against the erring broadcaster, no penalty and no Discom proceedings were initiated. In fact, even after the new management took charge, wide-scale manipulation has continued,” NBA said.
NBA’s Board also wants to place on record that the corrupt data released month after month has not only led to reputation loss but has also caused huge financial losses to news broadcasters for which BARC is duty-bound to give an explanation.