Idea of fake TRP a deadly weapon, this will discredit whole electronic media: Sanjay Nirupam

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Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam on Thursday said that the idea of fake Television Rating Points (TRP) is a deadly weapon to poison viewers like fake news, adding that this will discredit the whole electronic media. TRP is a tool to judge which TV programmes are viewed the most and also indicates the viewers’ choice and popularity of a particular channel.

This comes as Mumbai Police claimed to have busted a TRP manipulation racket. It has tightened the noose around Hansa, an agency associated with the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), which calculates the TRP. Hansa, which has been responsible for the maintenance of over 3000 parameters across the country, including around 2000 in Mumbai, has allegedly been tampering with the TRP.

Taking to micro-blogging site Twitter, Nirupam also said that this will certainly finish the credibility of loud TV anchors and added that they all must introspect now for the future of their profession. “Idea of Fake TRP is a deadly weapon to poison viewers, like Fake News. This will certainly finish the credibility of loud TV anchors. More than that, such things will discredit the whole electronic media in India. They all must introspect now for the future of their profession,” he tweeted.

Idea of #FakeTRP is a deadly weapon to poison viewers,like #FakeNews


This will certainly finish the credibility of loud TV anchors.


More than that,such things will discredit the whole electronic media in India.


They all must introspect now for the future of their profession.

— Sanjay Nirupam (@sanjaynirupam) October 8, 2020

In a press conference, Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh said that ratings by BARC, an organisation under the Ministry of Information and Broadcast (I&B), had been manipulated. The police said that Hansa has misused the data, adding that sample houses, where barometers had been installed to monitor ratings, were paid to watch certain TV channels. 

The Mumbai police commissioner told reporters that a national TV news channel, allegedly facing flak over its attack on Mumbai police and Maharashtra government in the Sushant Singh Rajput death case, was also involved in the TRP racket. The Detection Crime Branch of Mumbai police, which unearthed the TRP racket, has arrested owners of two Marathi channels, for manipulating viewership ratings, the official said.

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The government believes in press freedom but showing “provocative news” for the sake of TRP is not journalism and it must stop, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar had said on October 9. Speaking at an event organised by RSS newsletter Panchajanya, he had said after paid news and fake news, this is the era of “TRP journalism”.

“There used to be paid news, fake news and now there is TRP journalism. The unnecessary burden of TRP must be stopped by the media. Someday they will have to improve themselves,” the minister had said. He said there has to be a process for popularity measurement, “but showing provocative news is not journalism”. “The government believes in freedom of the press. It does not want to take away anyone’s rights, but journalism should be responsible and the media should do it itself,” Javadekar had said.

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