Centre sets up committee for ‘transparent’ TRPs amid manipulation row
The information and broadcasting ministry has set up a four-member committee to make “recommendations for a robust, transparent and accountable ratings system (for television) in India”.
The committee consists of Prasar Bharti CEO Shashi V Vempatti, Dr Shailabh from IIT Kanpur, Rajkumar Upadhyay from C-DOT and professor Pulak Ghosh from the Centre for Public Policy. It has to submit its report in two months.
The decision comes a little over two weeks after the Parliamentary panel on Information Technology, chaired by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, took up the issue of Television Rating Points (TRPs). The panel had noted that TRPs can be “easily manipulated”, amid allegations of a scam involving certain news channels.
The committee will study past recommendations made by various forums on the subject of television ratings systems in India and recommendations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. They have been tasked with suggesting steps to enhance competition in the sector and undertake a review of present guidelines to see if they have met the test of time and needs of the stakeholders.
“Based on the operation of the guidelines for a few years, there is a need to have a fresh look on the guidelines… keeping in view the recent recommendations of TRAI, technological advancements/interventions to address the system and further straighten the procedures for a credible and transparent ratings system,” the ministry said in its order dated November 4.
Hindustan Times on October 16 reported that the Press Council of India (PCI) chairman Justice CK Prasad, information and broadcasting ministry secretary Amit Khare and other senior officials briefed the panel on the issue amid a controversy that certain news channels have manipulated the TRPs.
The panel had also unanimously agreed that the TRP is not a robust method to measure viewership. “It is not in tune with current technologies,” a person familiar with the matter had said.
“Due to converging technologies, it is difficult to have a regulatory framework. There is no uniformity of content and this is required,” said the person mentioned above.
To specific questions, officials told the panel members that the current system to ascertain TRP is “not very scientific and accurate”.