Republic, two other news channels under scanner for TRP manipulation
In a stunning revelation, Mumbai Police on Thursday claimed three news channels, including Arnab Goswami's Republic TV, are under scanner for TRP manipulation. Two people have been arrested and officials of Republic TV could be called in for questioning soon. The racket, some details of which were revealed by Commissioner Parambir Singh, involves paying money to homes for keeping the news channels on.
Singh said 2,000 barometers monitor TRPs — the scale which judges how popular a channel is — across Mumbai. The Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) had given confidential contracts to judge these barometers. According to Singh, the accused bribed some households, asking them not to switch off the channels, even if they aren't at home. In non-English speaking homes, for instance, English news channels remained on.
The Mumbai Police intends to probe the bank accounts of the channels and plans to look into the advertising funds to understand "whether they are from proceeds of crimes." If any crime comes to light, the accounts will be seized and further action will be taken. Singh suspected that similar manipulation could be happening across India if it's this rampant in Mumbai.
The top cop revealed it got the custody of two arrested people after producing them in court. One of the accused was held with Rs. 20 lakh and another had Rs. 8.5 lakh in a bank locker. Asserting that more channels will come under the scanner, Singh added, "Anyone involved in the channel, no matter how top management, how senior, will be questioned."
Soon after the allegations of buying TRPs surfaced, Goswami put out a video claiming his channel was being targeted for its coverage into the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput. In his trademark style, Goswami shouted that Republic TV won't bow down to "cowards" and will instead drag the Mumbai Police to court. He also thanked viewers for their relentless support.
Giving a pointed message to Singh, Goswami said he will "investigate IndiaBulls and Palghar." "If you have told (NCP Chief) Sharad Pawar and (Shiv Sena boss and Maharashtra CM) Uddhav Thackeray that you will arrest me, come. But the Republic media network is the number one in this country," Goswami went on. He hoped Singh is sacked and disciplinary action is taken against him.