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I&B Min to BARC: Release news ratings with immediate effect

New Delhi: The ministry of information and broadcasting has asked television monitoring agency BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council) to release ratings of news channels with immediate effect, along with data for the genre for the past three months, for fair and equitable representation of true trends. As per the revised system, the reporting of news and niche genres will now be on a 'four-week rolling average concept'.

In an official communication the ministry informed that "In the spirit of the TRP Committee Report and recommendations by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), BARC has undertaken revision in its processes, protocols, oversight mechanism and initiated changes in the governance structure." Further, the ministry said in the statement that "The reconstitution of the Board and the Technical Committee to allow for the induction of Independent Members have also been initiated by BARC. A permanent Oversight Committee has also been formed. The access protocols for data have been revamped and tightened."

Meanwhile, the I&B ministry has also set up a working group under the chairmanship of the CEO, Prasar Bharti for the consideration of leveraging the Return Path Data (RPD) capabilities for the use of TRP services, as also recommended by TRAI and the TRP Committee Report. The Committee shall submit its report in four months time, the statement added.

BARC- a joint industry body comprising broadcasters, advertisers and agencies has been caught in the eye of a storm since October 2020 when the alleged television TRP manipulation scam started unfolding. Mumbai police said it had busted a TRP racket based on complaints received from BARC India and Hansa- a consumer insights company and one of the vendors of BARC - about suspicious trends and activities. Certain households were paid to keep their television sets on irrespective of whether they were at home or not, to increase the viewership of some news channels, they had said. In fact, they named Republic TV and two other Marathi channels as being

involved in the practice.

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