NEW DELHI: The controversies surrounding alleged rigging of television rating points (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. “Governments (Centre & State) and Businesses (Public & Private) base their advertising allocations to TV channels based on TRPs, so flawed or manipulated TRP cannot be the basis of ad spend,” Chidambaram tweeted.
In his letter to Tharoor, Chidambaram 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 based on flawed data... In the light of this, the Standing Committee for Information and Technology needs to take up this issue.” With Opposition MPs accusing the government of supporting the channels under scanner, BJP president JP Nadda lashed 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. Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi was quick to hit back, tweeting: “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.” On Thursday, the Mumbai Police claimed to have busted a racket to manipulate TRP data by Republic TV and two other Marathi channels.