New Delhi: The Centre on Wednesday (November 4) constituted a four-member committee, headed by Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi S Vempati, to review the guidelines on television rating agencies in India, in the wake an alleged Television Rating Points (TRP) scam. The government has asked the panel to submit its report to the Information and Broadcasting minister within two months.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting said the present guidelines issued by it in 2014 on Television Rating agencies in India were notified after detailed deliberations by the Parliamentary Committee, Committee on Television Rating Points (TRP) constituted by the ministry and recommendations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority etc.

“Based on the operation of the guidelines for a few years, there is a need to have a fresh look on the guidelines particularly keeping in view the recent recommendations of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), technological advancements/inventions to address the system and further strengthening of the procedures for a credible and transparent rating system,” an official order issued by the ministry said.

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Apart from Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi S Vempati, the panel will comprise Dr Shalabh, Professor of Statistics, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, IIT Kanpur; Dr Rajkumar Upadhyay, Executive Director, C-DOT; and Professor Pulak Ghosh, Decision Sciences Centre for Public Policy (CPP) as its members.

It has been found, based on the operation of the guidelines for a few years, that there is need to have a fresh look on the guidelines particularly keeping in view the recent recommendations of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), technological advancements/interventions to address the system and further strengthening of the procedures for a credible and transparent rating system.

The committee shall carry out an appraisal of the existing system; examine TRAI recommendations notified from time to time, overall industry scenario and addressing the needs of the stakeholders and make recommendations for robust, transparent and accountable rating system through changes, if any, in the existing guidelines.

The terms of reference for the committee shall be as under:

– Study past recommendations made by various forums on the subject of television rating systems in India and matter incidental thereto;

– Study recent recommendations of Telecom Regulatory Authority on the subject;

– Suggest steps for enhancing competition in the sector;

– Review of the presently notified guidelines to see if the intended purpose(s) of issuing the guidelines have stood the test of time and has met needs of various stakeholders involve The lacunae, if any, shall be specially addressed by the Committee;

– Any issues related or incidental to the subject;

– To make recommendations on way forward for robust, transparent and accountable rating system in India; 

– Any other related issues assigned by MIB from time to time. The committee can invite any expert as a special invitee. 

Earlier on October 15, the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) had announced a temporary suspension of weekly ratings of news channels across languages, following the alleged fake Television Rating Points (TRP) scam.

Mumbai police, which busted the scam last month, also made arrests in the case. Those arrested include news channel employees, while the police also questioned top officials of Republic TV, which had denied any wrongdoing.





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