Home / Industry / Media /  IT panel scrutinizes challenges in media, TRP controversy

There is a growing clamour within the parliamentary committee on Information Technology (IT) that there should be large scale amendments in the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act of 1995 and programming and advertising codes to meet the mounting challenges in the media.

The issue came up for discussion at the standing committee on Information Technology (IT), chaired by senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, on Thursday in which representatives of ministry of information and broadcasting were present before the committee for discussion.

“There is unanimity within the union government and parliamentary committee of IT that there should be amendments and changes made in the law. The time has come when we have to address this concern. Due to the changes in technology which is being used for broadcasting over the years, it was being felt for a long time that the laws needed changes," said those in the know of development.

The meeting of parliamentary committee comes in the backdrop of allegations of manipulations in Television Rating Points (TRP) by some news channels and this issue came up for discussion during the course of the meeting on Thursday. As a result of allegations manipulation of, the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) on Thursday announced that it would pause publishing the weekly data for news channels for the next 8-12 weeks to review and augment the current standards of measuring and reporting the data.

“Manipulation of TRPs is one small issue, there are other challenges also related to fake news, regulation of media. While the current issue of manipulation of TRPs did come up for discussion and it has been agreed to study the laws and recommend changes to the union government," added those in the know of development. The IT committee’s meeting on Thursday was with an agenda to discuss “ethical standards in media coverage".

The problem related to manipulation of TRPs started after Mumbai police recently received a complaint accusing some news channels of manipulation of TRPs data. In the course of its investigation, the Mumbai police had also made some arrests and is questioning representatives of some news channels.

Several political leaders, particularly from opposition parties, have demanded that there should be greater scrutiny over the TRP controversy. While earlier IT panel member and senior Congress leader Karti Chidambaram had requested Tharoor to take up the matter for scrutiny, on Thursday senior Shiv Sena leader and Rajya Sabha MP Priyanka Chaturvedi met union information and broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar and urged the union government to intervene suitably.

“In a meeting today with I&B Minister Shri @PrakashJavdekarji I urged GoI to ensure transparency in the TRP system and urgently seek opinions from various stakeholders so as to ensure a foolproof mechanism to avoid manipulation. #TRPScam," Chaturvedi posted on Twitter on Thursday evening adding that the union minister has gave his “assurance to streamline the process to ensure accountability".

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