In the latest development in the imbroglio over the IRS Q4 2013 numbers, in a order issued dated February 24, 2014 the Bombay High Court has stated that the counsel for Media Research Users Council (MRUC) has said that the Council will disable all links from its server from the evening of February 28, 2014 so that the Indian Readership Survey (IRS) report is not accessible.
This decision was taken post MRUC’s meeting with the Readership Survey Council of India (RSCI), wherein the latter decided to hold the IRS in abeyance till March 31, 2014.
It may be recalled that Diligent Media Corporation (DNA) had filed an arbitration petition against MRUC on February 13, 2014 against the IRS findings. The latest order is in response to this petition.
The counsel for MRUC also informed the Court that a press release had been issued which mentions about the meeting between MRUC and RSCI, along with all the stakeholders to discuss a way forward for IRS.
Diligent Media Corporation has also filed an additional affidavit in which it is stated that MRUC has informed all stakeholders about the press release. Moreover, MRUC might seek any information from the petitioner for the purpose of discussing a way forward, as stated in the press release.
As is known, DNA was one of the first newspapers to raise questions over the anomalies in the IRS Q4 2013 data. The English daily had stated in its edition dated January 29, 2014, “DNA contests data presented by MRUC, there’s a clear mis-match between survey figures and our database. DNA has a robust subscription base and we have names, contact numbers, and addresses of most of our readers, who have opted for a paid subscription scheme. This also shows our loyal reader database, which is extremely stable we would, therefore, like to know the basis of the readings.”
Earlier, 19 major publications had withdrawn from the IRS. The Indian Newspaper Society (INS) is also holding discussions on taking legal recourse and is planning to seek refund from MRUC.