Republic TV, 2 other channels on radar for manipulating TRP ratings

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Republic TV Crisis
Republic TV Crisis

New Delhi : Arnab Goswami's Republic TV is among the three TV channels which are being investigated for allegedly spreading false narratives to earn ad revenues, said Mumbai Police. The owners of two TV channels have been arrested and the directors of Republic TV are being investigated in the matter.

Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh on Thursday informed reporters that the officials of Republic TV will be summoned today or tomorrow.

If it is found that the channel has used some inappropriate method to change the ratings and earn money via advertisements then its accounts may get frozen, said the police.

The rating scam emerged during a larger analysis of the manipulation of news trends and how a "false narrative" was being spread, especially in connection with the probe into actor Sushant Singh Rajput's death, Mr Singh said. The information had been shared with the central government, he added.

"The biggest name to emerge is Republic TV," said the police chief. 

The two-channel owners who have been arrested are Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema.

More channels could also be examined, he said. Asked whether the inquiry would include Arnab Goswami, the Editor-in-Chief of Republic, the police chief said: "Anyone involved in the channel, no matter how much in the top, how senior, will be questioned, and if involved they will be investigated. No one, no matter how senior, will escape."

In a statement, Arnab Goswami said he would sue the Mumbai Police commissioner and accused him of making false allegations "because we have questioned him in the Sushant Singh Rajput case investigation". He added: "He should issue a public apology or get ready to face us in court."

BARC has been served notice and its officials are also being questioned. "As in all our previous cases of suspected panel homes intrusions,  BARC India continues to follow its established vigilance and disciplinary guidelines. BARC remains steadfastly true to its purpose to accurately and faithfully report ' What India Watches'. BARC India appreciates the efforts of the Mumbai Police and will provide the support asked of it," said a company spokesperson.

Full statement by Republic TV in the matter

"Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh has made false allegations against Republic TV because we have questioned him in the Sushant Singh Rajput case investigation. Republic TV will file a criminal defamation case against Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh. There is not a single BARC report that mentions Republic TV. The people of India know the truth. Mr. Param Bir Singh's investigation in the Sushant Singh Rajput case is under a cloud and this is a desperate measure because of Republic TV's reportage on Palghar, the Sushant Singh Rajput case or any other case. This kind of targeting only strengthens the resolve of everyone at Republic TV to push for the truth even harder. Param Bir Singh stands completely exposed today, since BARC has not mentioned Republic in any single complaint. He should issue an official apology and get ready to face us in court."