On 8 October, the Mumbai Police addressed a press conference and said that they busted a “TRP Scam”. The Mumbai Police Commissioner, Param Bir Singh, accused Republic TV and two other Marathi channels, Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema, of allegedly manipulating Television Rating Points (TRP).
Soon after the press conference got over, Republic TV chief, Arnab Goswami, went live on his channel and shared his video statement where he said that he would file a criminal defamation case against the “desperate commissioner of Mumbai” and that “we” (because Arnab = nation) “must fight against people who try to silence us”.
So, what is TRP?
TRP = Television Rating Point
An index that lets 44000 TV sets that’s approximately 180,000 people decide the popularity of a channel in India. How is that fair? We don’t have the answer.
On 9 October, in an interview with CNBC TV18, Rajiv Bajaj spoke about blacklisting three channels they had stopped advertising on because of their “toxic” and “hate mongering” content.
"“We are very clear that our brand will never be associated with anything that we feel, beyond reasonable doubt, a source of toxicity in our society.”" - Rajiv Bajaj to CNBC TV18
On 12 October, Parle-G followed suit and announced that they too will not advertise their products on “toxic and aggressive Indian media channels.”
What happened next? The Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) decided to suspend ratings of TV news channels for 8 to 12 weeks to “review and augment” current standards of measuring and reporting data.
"“In light of the recent developments, BARC Board has proposed that it’s Technical Committee (Tech Comm) review and augment the current standards of measuring and reporting the data of niche genres, to improve their statistical robustness and to significantly hamper the potential attempts of infiltrating the panel homes”." - Statement issued by BARC
On 18 October, Arnab Goswami went live on his channel once again and said that he had an email from BARC that clearly says that they have “not found any malpractices or initiated any disciplinary action or found anything wrong on Republic Media Network” and that the agency had trashed all claims made by Param Bir Singh and called them “a 100% lie".
Just a few moments after Goswami went live on his channel and “exposed Param Bir Singh”, BARC released a statement and accused Republic TV of "disclosing their private and confidential communication” and “misrepresentation” of the same.
On 19 October 2020, Arnab Goswami decided to sue the Mumbai Police Commissioner, Param Bir Singh, for Rs 200 crore for “damage to reputation” in the TRP case. The news channel called it an "openly spiteful and deeply-motivated witch hunt by the state government of Maharashtra” in an earlier statement.
*Wonder what Rhea Chakraborty, Deepika Padukone, Rakul Preet Singh, Sara Ali Khan and many others have to say about that*
Well, the story of filing cases is not over yet. On 20 October, ex-ACP, Iqbal Shaikh, of the Mumbai Police, also filed a case against Arnab Goswami and Republic TV and accused them of “running a smear campaign against the Mumbai police”. The ex-cop has also asked for Rs 5 lakh compensation for causing him “mental agony” and “loss of reputation”.
BTW, did we mention that Arnab Goswami has even written a 7-page long letter to the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind to draw the Honorable President's attention to the "emergency-style injustice and constant harassment”?
Latest plot twist in this story: The Uttar Pradesh government has roped in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to investigate TRP scam. Why? Because someone called Kamal Sharma, who claims to run an advertising business filed an FIR against “unknown channels” for manipulating TRPs.
FYI: This particular FIR was promptly registered by UP Police and the case was transferred to the CBI. Who says UP Police doesn’t take prompt action, huh?
Video Edit: Ashish Maccune
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