Arnab Goswami and Ex-BARC CEO Accused of TRP Manipulation

The Television Rating Point (TRP) scam came to light in the month of October by the Mumbai Police and so far 15 people have arrested for it

republic tv arnab goswami
Courtesy: National Herald

It is almost as though Goswami’s reputation is falling apart piece by piece- although no external forces can be blamed here, they can all be attributed to his own actions.

After being in police custody in early November due to a suicide abetment case, he had been released eight days later on interim bail after massive protests.

Most recently, The Mumbai Police have accused him and former CEO of Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) Partho Nirmal Dasgupta of manipulating the Television Rating Points (TRP) of Republic TV and it’s Hindi division, republic Bharat.

The police have further stated that Dasgupta, who was arrested last week, was the “mastermind” behind the scam, and have sought further custody. Romil Ramgarhia, former BARC COO has also been accused of being an accomplice to the crime.

The Magistrate has extended the police custody of Dasgupta till December 30.

Dasgupta has been accused of doing this for financial gain. The Police remand note has stated that Goswami had given Dasgupta “payment in lakhs,” which he was spending on expensive, luxury items like jewellery. The items have been seized from his house.

A spokesperson from BARC India said to the Hindustan Times, “The development related to the two ex-employees of BARC India is a part of an ongoing investigation for which BARC management continues to extend its support and cooperation to the law enforcement agencies. It would consequently be inappropriate for BARC to comment any further at this stage. Every employee of BARC India is expected to conform to a Code of Conduct & Ethics and any infringement invites suitable disciplinary action. We will continue to ensure that what Indian watches is reported accurately and with utmost integrity. It’s a responsibility we owe all our stakeholders.”

The TRP was increased by tampering with the barometer, said the police, which made the number one news channel come second.

Dasgupta is the 15th person accused in the TRP scam, Republic TV has denied being part of any such activity.

UK Media Fines Goswami’s Programme

Republic Bharat, the Hindi Division of Republic TV was fined 20,000 pounds (approximately Rs 19.73 lakh) by the United Kingdom’s communications regulator Office of Communications for broadcasting content that involved “offensive language”, “hate speech” and “ abusive or derogatory treatment of individuals, groups, religions or communities”. The channel was asked to air an apology.

In the release of a programme related to India’s Chandrayaan 2, while he was comparing India and Pakistan, Goswami had insisted that every Pakistani was a terrorist.

What was the TRP Scam? 

In the month of October, Mumbai Police Officer Param Bir Singh announced that he had busted a scam that had been taking place to manipulate the Television Rating Point (TRP) and boost advertising revenues.

One of the main accused was Republic TV, along with two Marathi channels- Box Cinema and Fakt Marathi.

Following the allegation, BARC paused its weekly rating for all news channels for the next three months. The time would be used to bring the ratings to global standards.

TRP is a metric used by TV channels to indicate the percentage of the target audience reached.

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