Photo: Pexels/Facebook
Photo: Pexels/Facebook

Close on the heels of the TRP scam exposed by the Mumbai Police, the Centre on Wednesday constituted a four-member committee headed by Prasar Bharti CEO Shashi S Vempati.The committee has been mandated to review 'Guidelines on Television Rating Agencies in India', notified by the ministry in 2014.The committee comprises Dr Shalabh, Professor of Statistics, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, IIT Kanpur, Dr. Rajkumar Upadhyay, Executive Director, C-DOT; and Professor Pulak Ghosh, Decision Sciences, Centre for Public Policy (CPP).

The present guidelines issued by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) on television rating agencies in India were notified after detailed deliberations by the parliamentary committee on Television Ratings Points (TRP) constituted by the MIB and the recommendations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority.

“It has been found, based on the operation of the guidelines for a few years, that there is need to have a fresh look at them, particularly keeping in view the recent recommendations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), technological advancements/interventions to address the system and further strengthening of the procedures for a credible and transparent rating system,’’ the ministry said in a notification issued on Wednesday.

The committee will study different aspects of the television ratings system in India as these have evolved over a period of time. Further, it will carry out an appraisal of the existing system; examine TRAI recommendations notified from time to time, take stock of the overall industry scenario and address the needs of the stakeholders and make recommendations for a robust, transparent and accountable rating system through changes, if any, in the existing guidelines.

In October, Mumbai Police said they had busted a “racket” of “fraudulent” manipulation of Television Rating Points (TRPs) involving three channels, including Arnab Goswami’s Republic TV. TRPs claim to show how many people from various socio-economic categories had watched television channels and for how long they had been tuned in over a particular time period.

Police Commissioner Parambir Singh further said, “Three channels, including Republic, Fakt Marathi, and Box Cinema have been found to be indulging in such malpractices.” So far, at least 11 people have been arrested in connection with the case.

Thereafter, the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), which provides TRP data, announced a temporary suspension of the weekly ratings of news channels across languages. The four-member committee will study past recommendations made by various forums on the subject of television rating systems in India and matter incidental thereto; look into the recent recommendations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority on the subject and suggest steps for enhancing competition in the sector.

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