Justice Mukul Mudgal to head BARC India’s disciplinary council

BARC also appointed Sujeet Jain, group general counsel at Viacom18; C.V.L. Srinivas, CEO (South Asia) GroupM and Godrej Consumer Products’ Pankaj Phadnis as members


A file photo of Mukul Mudgal, former chief justice of the Punjab and Haryana high court. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint
A file photo of Mukul Mudgal, former chief justice of the Punjab and Haryana high court. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

New Delhi: Television viewership ratings agency Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) on Tuesday appointed Mukul Mudgal, former chief justice of the Punjab and Haryana high court, as head of its independent disciplinary committee—BARC India Disciplinary Council (BDC).

The six-member council has been set up by BARC to investigate and address complaints pertaining to viewership malpractices and tampering of BARC India’s measurement system.

The joint industry body also appointed Sujeet Jain, group general counsel and company secretary at Viacom18; C.V.L. Srinivas, chief executive officer, South Asia, at media agency GroupM, and Pankaj Phadnis, associate vice president, corporate legal at Godrej Consumer Products Ltd (GCPL) as members who will represent broadcast stakeholder bodies Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) and The Indian Society of Advertisers (ISA), respectively.

Other members of the committee include D. Shivanandan, former Mumbai police commissioner and Maharashtra DGP, and Paritosh Joshi, independent technical expert.

“The BDC is a step forward in our commitment to ensuring transparency, and eradicating this long existing malpractice of panel tampering. We hope to build further credibility in our processes and systems under guidance of Justice Mukul Mudgal. The independent council will also benefit from the advice of a seasoned law enforcement expert like Mr. Shivanandan, and the continued support of industry stakeholders,” Partho Dasgupta, BARC India chief executive, said in a statement.

Additionally, BARC India has set up a vigilance team to probe viewership malpractices’ complaints and investigate irregular viewership data recorded from BARC India panel households (houses where BARC has installed metres to map viewership).

The disciplinary council will independently examine vigilance team reports and can take punitive action against the parties as well. “The action could range from written warning and a fine for first level offence, to suspension of viewership data for 3 months, leading up to termination of BARC India’s contract with subscriber,” Barc said in a statement.

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