Mumbai Police Accuses Republic TV of conniving with BARC to bring down Times Now ratings

MUMBAI: In a recent development in the TRP manipulation case, now Mumbai police have gone against the former officials of rating agency BARC, accusing it of colluding with Republic TV. The Mumbai police today upped its gamble against Republic TV, levelling new allegations against the channel.

In today’s press conference, Mumbai Police alleged that during the term of former BARC CEO Partho Dasgupta, who has been arrested in connection with the case, ratings for other English news channels were deliberately brought down to make Republic TV number one in the sector. The police said that BARC manipulated viewership and TRP data to bring down the ratings of Times Now, which was number one English news channel when Arnab Goswami was heading it, before he launched Republic TV.

Making grave allegations against BARC, Mumbai police said that ratings were predetermined to achieve viewership. Police alleged there was cartelisation of top officials of BARC. Mumbai police also alleged that three methods were employed to manipulate data, outlier method, meta rule and channel audience control.

This is the latest in the twists and turns in the TRP manipulation case, where Mumbai police are acting completely ignoring the original FIR filed in the case. The FIR was filed by Hansa Research, a private company that manages the Bar-O-meters of BARC that measure television viewership. The FIR had mentioned that India Today was bribing households with the meters installed to watch the channel, to boost its TRP. But Mumbai police had accused Republic TV of the same and refused to act against India Today TV.

Hansa Research has even gone to Bombay High Court alleging that Mumbai Police is forcing them to give false statements against Republic TV. But this has not stopped the police under the Uddhav Thackeray government from running its vendetta against Republic TV. Even BARC has sent emails to Republic TV confirming that there is no allegations of TRP manipulation against the channel, but Mumbai Police continues its relentless attack on the media house.

While the Republic TV issued a statement denying all the charges. It said BARC had written emails to them twice saying that there was no question of any manipulation by Republic TV. It also said that police version does not make any sense, as the forensic Report that the Mumbai Police is referring to is from July 2020, and BARC’s emails to the channel are from November and December 2020.

It defies common sense why BARC would give Republic Media Network a complete clean chit in November and December if the mails before that showed collusion of BARC officials with Republic.

Republic also pointed out that the channel’s ratings increased after the previous dispensation at BARC moved out. “The viewership increased in the second-half of 2020. Does the Mumbai Police have any explanation for this? Or does it hold the current dispensation at BARC guilty for the viewership of Republic TV?” the channel asked.