Arnab Goswamiâs newly launched Hindi news channel Republic Bharat has been accused of resorting to unethical practices to garner high viewership numbers over competing broadcast networks.
BestMediaInfo.com has learned that TV18 Broadcast Limited, which operates national Hindi news channel News18 India, has written to TRAI complaining about âRepublic Bharatâ being placed outside the Hindi news genre. It asked for stern action against all those who may be/have been involved in listing of âRepublic Bharatâ outside its genre so as to stop such malpractice in future. Similar complaint has been filed by TV Today Network that runs Aaj Tak.
Acting on the complaints, TRAI has sent emails to cable operators that said:
1. Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is in receipt of a complaint from M/s TV Today Network, on the subject mentioned above, wherein M/s TV Today Network has mentioned thatÂ you have placed âRepublic Bharatâ on landing page and other LCNs on your network w.e.f 1st Feb 2019.
Â 2. You are requested to send your comments on the above mentioned issue, to this office latest by 22nd Feb 2019.
A complaint filed by TV18 Broadcast, a copy of which is with BestMediaInfo.com, said, âA wrong and widespread practice is being adopted whereby Republic Bharat is being placed outside its declared genre i.e., Hindi news genre on various cable networks.â
The complaint included sample photographs and a table showing listing of âRepublic Bharatâ outside its genre at various cable networks.
âWe verily believe that the said channel is being, deliberately and malafide, placed outside its genre at the behest of the broadcaster of âRepublic Bharatâ so as to enable it to illegally garner higher BARC ratings and increase viewership,â the letter said.
âThis so because, genres where âRepublic Bharatâ is being placed either have much better viewership and ratings when compared with Hindi news genre or ensure that âRepublic Bharatâ catches viewerâs attention and gets sampled in non-Hindi news genre. As such, by placing âRepublic Bharatâ in non-Hindi news genres, an unfair and undue advantage is being given to âRepublic Bharatâ when compared with its competing channels that continue to be listed in/correct Hindi news genre,â it added.
The letter dated February 6, 2019, stated that this action of placing âRepublic Bharatâ outside the relevant genre is in violation of the authority's broadcasting regulations (Specially, sub-regulations 2 of regulation 18 of The Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services Interconnection (Addressable Systems) Regulations, 2017) and as such, impermissible.
âIn view of above, we humbly request Honâble Authority to kindly take cognisance of this complaint and investigate into the matter. Further, in terms of applicable laws, take stern action against all those who may be/have been involved in listing of âRepublic Bharatâ outside its genre so as to deprecate such malpractice in future,â TV18 concluded.