‘WhatsApp messages not only reflect manipulation of ratings but is also about power play’
The News Broadcasters Association on Monday said the WhatsApp messages between Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami and former Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) CEO Patho Dasgupta showed that the two were colluding to manipulate ratings.
In a statement, the NBA said it was shocked to see the messages exchanged between the two and demanded that Republic TV be expelled from the Indian Broadcasting Foundation.
“These WhatsApp messages not only reflect manipulation of ratings but is also about power play. The messages exchanged go on to refer to the appointment of Secretaries, Cabinet reshuffle, access to the PMO (Prime Minister’s Office) and the workings of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. This only confirms the many and continuous allegations made by NBA in the last four years that ratings were being manipulated by a non-NBA member broadcaster in connivance with BARC’s top management officials,” the statement said.
The NBA Board called for Republic TV to be left out of the BARC rating system till the final court order in the matter.
“It is indeed with dismay that NBA notes the fact that in spite of having a damning verdict in its possession since July 2020, BARC sat on the forensic report for several months, which brought to light these manipulations. This is a glaring example of the systemic lack of transparency that has prevailed right since the inception of BARC,” it said.
The NBA Board demanded that BARC make a statement about the veracity of its ratings for the period that is under audit, conduct an audit of Hindi news genre, expunge the data of Republic TV and re-state the rankings of all news channels.
“NBA’s Board also wants to place on record that the corrupt data released month after month has not only led to reputation loss but has also caused huge financial losses to news broadcasters for which BARC is duty bound to give an explanation,” the statement said.