Close on the heels of Mumbai Police’s expose on TRP scam, the Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi on Thursday urged the Centre to ensure transparency in the TRP system and urgently seek opinions from various stakeholders so as to ensure a foolproof print mechanism to avoid manipulation.
Chaturvedi met I & B Minister Prakash Javadekar and in a representation said as TRPs are manipulated and a toxic version of ness presentation gains currency, it also affects the financial sustainability of other media houses which do not indulge in such practices. ‘’If TRP itself is found to be manipulated, it raises concerns on the authenticity of the entire system. It is even worrisome that this complaint follows many others raised over time against such news channels,’’ she noted.
According to Chaturvedi, it is unfortunate that people-meters have a history of manipulation but no serious introspection has been done to ensure more transparency. ‘’As performer DG Doordarshan this manipulation has been going on for over two decades ,in fact in 2012, one new broadcaster had sued an earlier television rating measurement company accusing it of manipulating ratings in return for bribes to its officials,’’ she said.
Chaturvedi said the present investigation by the Mumbai Police has unearthed that five panel TV homes –households where meters are installed to capture viewership- were compromised to rig viewership of certain channels. This has led to 5 arrests, including one from Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh. In the immediate consequence, the BARC has also suspended Television Rating Points system for the next 12 weeks amid this TRP scam.
‘’It is my request that the Government should ensure transparency in the TRP system. While the Mumbai Police has already identified three channels indulging in the manipulation, the rot may go deeper than it appears,’’ said Chaturvedi. She further stated, ‘’it is our solemn duty that a correct picture is sent across to viewers who depend on these channels for credibility of information not realising that these channels are indulging in corrupt and criminal malpractices to push partisan agenda as journalism.’’