Oriya daily Pragativadi has filed a legal suit against the Media Research Users Council (MRUC) for reflecting incorrect circulation figures. Pragativadi has also communicated in writing to MRUC that it does not want to subscribe to the survey nor does it want to be included in the survey.
As per the audited circulation figures of Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) for December 2007, Pragativati had overtaken another daily, The Samaj, in 15 districts of Orissa. In the audit report for the period July-December 2007, ABC had stated that the total circulation of Pragativadi in Orissa stood at 182,089, while The Samaj had a total circulation of 203,794.
However, in contrast to the total circulation figures, the MRUC has shown less readership of Pragativadi at just 0.72 lakh, while it has put the readership of The Samaj at 15.2 lakh.
Elaborating on the issue, Samahit Bal, Executive Editor and owner of Pragativadi, said, “We refuse to accept the so-called survey report as they actually don’t happen physically, and in any case, for a population of close to four crore, with a literacy rate of more than 65 per cent, a tiny sample size cannot do justice. In my 15 years of being in active media business I am yet to come across one single person who has actually seen an IRS form. It is basically a manufactured report by individuals. We plain and simple want to bar them from allegedly using our paper’s brand name without our consent. Forget about us subscribing to them, we have repeatedly told them not to use our masthead in their so-called survey on which we have absolutely no trust. They are false and even biased. We have filed a case and the notice has already been sent to them by the court. We are confident that we will get justice.”
Bal further said that in response to a letter of MRUC dated November 11, 2007 to Pragativadi seeking details pertaining to recent mastheads of all its publication and latest circulation numbers by edition by state, district and town, the latter, in its letter dated November 27, 2007, had clearly stated that it was neither interested in including its publication in the IRS nor had it authorised MRUC to use its masthead during the survey. Also, reminding that such requests had been made to MRUC in the past, the letter, while asking the Council to consider it as a final notice, warned of legal action in case it failed to comply to its request.
“However, the Council, with utter disregard and contempt, has acted in contrast to the request of the said Oriya daily by bringing out a highly disparaging and misleading report,” a release from the paper stated.
Bal added, “The readership survey has a great influence on the readers using the print media for intellectual and other benefits. The survey and report should be based on facts and figures since the Government advertisement tariff rate are based on the circulation.”
“For the last three consecutive ABC reports, we have been the fastest growing daily in Bhubaneshwar, which happens to be the most important market of Orissa. We are very confident of our strengths and our market,” he asserted.
MRUC is a private company formed by different business companies and agencies having their own membership on payment of an annual fee.