The furore over alleged rigging of TRPs is now heading to Parliament with Congress MP Karti Chidambaram writing to Shashi Tharoor, chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology, asking for the matter to be taken up by the panel.
The Mumbai Police had on Thursday claimed to have busted a racket to manipulate TRP (Television Rating Point) data by Republic TV, Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema. Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh had said that two people had been arrested and the owners of the three channels involved in the alleged scam had been charged with criminal breach of trust and cheating for 'fixing data'.
In his letter to Tharoor, Karti wrote: “TRP of television channels have caused doubts on the legitimacy and the reliability of the system... TRPs produce essential data on the audiences in India and have become the primary basis for advertising decisions… but public spending should not be on the basis of flawed data... In the light of this, it is important for the Standing Committee for Information and Technology to take up this issue."
With opposition MPs accusing the government of supporting the channels under scanner, BJP national president JP Nadda hit out at the Congress, saying it carried out “witch-hunts against the media”.
“If the Congress, their allies and eco-system feel their incompetence and inefficiency can be hidden by whimsical witch-hunts against media, they are mistaken. Instead, they should learn what democracy is and practice a democratic temperament,” he tweeted.
Shooting the messenger is an art the Congress, their allies and eco-system have mastered. They’ve been unapologetic about it since the Emergency. Their assaults on @republic and trampling over media freedom will never be tolerated by the people of India.— Jagat Prakash Nadda (@JPNadda) October 8, 2020
Hitting back, the Congress questioned Nadda’s support for Republic TV. “The fact that the National BJP President jumps in to defend a channel being investigated for lying to viewers and duping advertisers for money is astounding. Indeed birds of a feather flock together. Nadda ji, stop shielding a con-job. Nobody is above the law,” Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi tweeted.