BARC had sought 8 weeks to resume release of news channel ratings: Anurag Thakur
Speaking in the Lok Sabha, the I&B minister also said that government is yet to decide on notification of new uplinking/downlinking guidelines for TV channels
Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India had apprised the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) that it was informing the constituents about the revised and augmented Data Reporting Standards. Further, the audience measurement body had also told the MIB that it will need eight weeks’ time to release viewership data for news and niche genres. This information has been provided by I&B minister Anurag Singh Thakur in the Lok Sabha.
"BARC has apprised that it is reaching out to all the constituents to sufficiently inform and educate them about the details of the revised and augmented Data Reporting Standards of BARC and thus would need eight weeks’ time (from the date of Ministry’s permission) to resume the reporting of individual news channel ratings," Thakur informed the Lok Sabha.
Earlier this week, BARC India informed that it intends to commence news data release with effect from March 17, 2022.
On January 12, the ministry asked BARC to release the news ratings after more than a year of blackout following the TRP scam. In October 2020, BARC decided to cease publishing the weekly individual ratings for all channels of News and Niche genres with immediate effect for an initial period of 8-12 weeks. Subsequently, the MIB on 15.02.2021 directed BARC to maintain the status quo in the matter of ratings.
"This was necessitated in view of the alleged reports of manipulation and review of the whole ecosystem of publishing of ratings. After review of the steps taken by BARC on corporate governance and on streamlining of processes and their transparency etc. BARC has been asked on 12.01.2022 to resume the release of the News ratings," Thakur added.
In response to another question, the minister said BARC had actively pursued action against those involved in tampering with the samples and had filed 11 FIRs through its vendors across many states. "The issue, thus, is a matter of investigation by the concerned police/judicial authorities of the respective jurisdictions," he added.
Thakur also pointed out that BARC had removed the management involved in the rating generation process. "Further, the Oversight and Technical Committees within BARC have been strengthened for data validation and methodology. The access protocols for data have also been revamped and tightened," he said.
BARC was granted registration as a TRP agency on 28.07.2015 in accordance with the 'Guidelines for Television Rating Agencies in India' notified by MIB on 16th January 2014.
Meanwhile, in response to another question, Thakur said the ministry has not taken any decision regarding notification of new uplinking and downlinking guidelines for private TV channels.
"No decision has been taken by this Ministry regarding notification of new uplinking and downlinking guidelines for private TV channels," he said.
In November 2021, I&B Secretary Apurva Chandra had said that the ministry is amending uplinking and downlinking guidelines which will make the rules simpler. "The new guidelines are expected to come in the next 3-4 months," Chandra had said.
Thakur also informed the Lok Sabha that the government has provided Rs 2379.24 crore to Prasar Bharati from FY15 to 31st December 2021 under Central Sector Broadcasting Infrastructure and Network Development (BIND) scheme.
The components of BIND scheme include modernization, digitization, augmentation and replacement of transmitters, broadcast equipment and studios, FM expansion/replacement, expansion of DTH and strengthening of coverage in sensitive areas and content development. Besides this, grants are also provided to Prasar Bharati for salaries of their deemed on deputation employees.
"The details of Grants-in-Aid (non-salary) provided to Prasar Bharati under Central Sector BIND scheme from the financial year 2014-15 till 31.12.2021 is Rs. 2379.24 Crore," the minister said.
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