The Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) on October 18 expressed its disappointment with Republic Network for "disclosing their private & confidential communication" and "misrepresenting the same". The remarks come in the backdrop of the ongoing TRP scam where three channels have been accused of manipulating and rigging their television rating point (TRP).
"BARC India has not commented on the ongoing investigation and it is providing necessary assistance to the law enforcement agency, BARC India is highly disappointed with the actions of the Republic Network by disclosing private and confidential communications and misrepresenting the same. BARC India reiterates that it has not commented on the ongoing investigation and without prejudice to BARC India's rights, it expresses its dismay at the actions of the Republic Network," it said in a statement.
However, Republic TV claims the Mumbai Police is levelling allegations against it as a "desperate measure", because of its reportage on cases such as the Palghar lynching and the death of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput.
"With the disclosure of BARC, the fake news-based campaign against Republic led by Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh comes to an end," the statement by Republic TV Network read.
In a statement issued on Twitter on October 18, Republic TV cited an "official email" from BARC and claimed that "there is not a single complaint or malpractice found against Republic TV, Republic Bharat or any other affiliate of the News Network".
Republic TV, along with two other channels is being probed for allegedly manipulating and rigging ratings and using them to spread fake narratives and gain ad revenues, the Mumbai police said on October 8. The Mumbai Police has arrested six persons in the case, including the owners of Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema.
Mumbai police commissioner said that there was false TRP spreading, TRP ratings were being bought and the manipulation was mainly for advertising revenues.
The top cop said that former employees of Hansa, an agency that placed rating metres in select households, shared confidential data with the three channels that are now under the scanner.
Hansa's data is used by BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council), which releases weekly rating points for channels across India. BARC had hired Hansa to monitor 2,000 barometers that have been installed to monitor ratings in Mumbai. The investigation is based on Hansa's complaint, the cop said.
"We suspect that if this was happening in Mumbai then it could be happening in other parts of the country as well," he said.
Media channels allegedly bribed the households being metered to keep their channel switched on all the time even if they were not watching it. "If you see the data, poor uneducated households that don't speak English were watching only English TV channels," he said. The cop also revealed that the families were given a monthly amount of ₹ 400-500 to push up ratings.