India Today fined ₹5 Lakh for manipulation of TRP, as the channel was mentioned in the FIR

Amid the ongoing controversy over the alleged ‘TRP scam’, the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) has imposed a fine of Rs 5 lakh on India Today for viewership malpractice. However, India Today channel alleged that the action was taken by BARC without any concrete evidence or convening a proper judicial committee.

The report quoted a show-case notice sent to TV Today network regarding viewership malpractice on April 27, 2020 but the response of TV Today network, who is a subscriber of BARC, wasn’t found satisfactory by the disciplinary council.

The media giant said that the India Today Group will resort to legal recourse against BARC for allegedly ‘leaking’ confidential hearings. However, the news network did not respond over the fine imposed by BARC. The relevant part of the statement reads as:

“In a separate matter, BARC has fined India Today without presenting any concrete evidence or convening a proper judicial committee. The issue had been under contention with them, but since they have leaked the confidential hearings, the India Today Group will consider appropriate legal recourse to get justice”.

As per the BARC report accessed by OpIndia, the BARC Disciplinary Council had ruled that “the statistical data provided by BARC Measurement Science Team showed an abnormal and inexplicable increase in viewership”. It further said that India Today had ‘breached the provisions of Section 7 of the EULA and has committed Viewership Malpractice’. It added, ‘this being the first offence of the Subscriber, therefore the Council is satisfied that in the present case, a warning be issued to the Subscriber and the Subscriber shall also pay a penalty of Rs. 5,00,000/-‘. OpIndia says that India Today is yet to pay the fine. As per OpIndia, it is possible that India Today has appealed against the order but couldn’t confirm the same.

Earlier, Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh made false allegations against Republic TV stating that the channel was involved in manipulating TV viewership data. However, the Republic News Channel’s Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami has strongly denied the allegations and said that his channel will file a criminal defamation case against Param Bir Singh for levelling fake allegations over TRP manipulation.

Editor Arnab Goswami also released a video statement stating that the channel will file a defamation case against Param Bir Singh. He said that the police commissioner is targeting Republic TV because the channel has exposed Mumbai police for not doing a fair and impartial investigation into Sushant Singh Rajput’s death.

Writer, historian, and activist Dharam Sikarwar is a very active author The Youth. He writes on national and international issues, environment, politics. He is an avid book reader as well.