Fake TRP scam: Centre appoints four-member committee to review rating guidelines

The four-member committee will be headed by Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi S Vempati and the panel to submit its report to the I&B minister within two months

Press Trust of India November 05, 2020 13:30:04 IST
Fake TRP scam: Centre appoints four-member committee to review rating guidelines

Representational Image, Reuters

New Delhi: Days after an alleged TRP scam came to the fore, the Centre on Wednesday constituted a committee to review the guidelines on television rating agencies in India and asked the panel to submit its report to the Information and Broadcasting minister within two months.

The four-member committee will be headed by Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi S Vempati.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting said the present guidelines issued by it in 2014 on Television Rating agencies in India were notified after detailed deliberations by the Parliamentary Committee, Committee on Television Rating Points (TRP) constituted by the ministry and recommendations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority etc.

"Based on the operation of the guidelines for a few years, there is a need to have a fresh look on the guidelines particularly keeping in view the recent recommendations of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), technological advancements/inventions to address the system and further strengthening of the procedures for a credible and transparent rating system," an official order issued by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting said.

Apart from chairperson Vempati, the committee will comprise 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) as its members.

The committee has been constituted to study the different aspects of the television rating system in India as they have evolved over a period of time, the order said.

It said the committee shall carry out an appraisal of the existing system, examine TRAI recommendations notified from time to time, overall industry scenario and address the needs of the stakeholders as well as make recommendations for a robust, transparent, and accountable rating system through changes, if any, in the existing guidelines.

As per the order, the committee will study past recommendations made by various forums on the subject of television rating systems in India and matters incidental thereto.

It will study recent recommendations of TRAI on the subject and suggest steps for enhancing competition in the sector.

The committee will also review the presently notified guidelines to see if the intended purpose of issuing guidelines have stood the test of time and met the needs of various stakeholders involved. The lacunae, if any, shall be specially addressed by the committee, the order said.

The terms of reference for the committee include any issues related or incidental to the subject, to make recommendations on the way forward for a robust, transparent and accountable rating system in India, and any other related issues assigned by the ministry from time to time.

The committee shall submit its report to the Minister of Information and Broadcasting within two months, said the order.

Following the alleged fake Television Rating Points (TRP) scam, the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) on 15 October had announced a temporary suspension of weekly ratings of news channels across languages.

Mumbai police, which busted the scam last month, have also made arrests in the case. Those arrested include news channel employees, while the police also questioned executives of Arnab Goswami-led Republic TV with regard to the case. Republic TV had denied any wrongdoing.

The Bombay High Court is scheduled to hear the petition filed by ARG Outlier Media Pvt Ltd, which owns Republic TV, and Goswami seeking to quash the FIR lodged on 6 October.

On the last date of hearing, the high court had directed the Mumbai police to submit for its perusal investigation papers pertaining to the case in a sealed cover by 5 November when it would hear the matter.

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