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May increase sample size in millions, hints Prakash Javadekar on TRP committee mandate

The committee will soon release a report on the matter, said the Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting

Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar on Monday hinted that the mandate of TRP committee headed by Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi Vempati is to look into increasing the sample size for measuring TRPs in millions.

"There are 50,000 meters today, earlier during TAM there were just 5,000 meters. That is why manipulation was possible. If there is a way of increasing this number to one crore, to know the choices of one crore people, how is manipulation possible," he said at a webinar organised by the Press Council of India.

The committee will soon release a report on the matter, he added.

Javadekar said the Government never wished to interfere with BARC as it had members from advertising as well as the broadcasting industries but was compelled to do so.

He said the Government is likely to come up with a common code of conduct for all TV news channels. “There is a body headed by Justice Sikri where people can complain and channels are punished as well, but there are many channels that are not a part of this body. Hence, we are thinking of bringing in a common code of conduct for all TV channels but are yet to take a decision on it," the minister added.

He said there were discussions to grant more powers to the Press Council of India and the Government was thinking about it. 

“The OTT platforms don’t have any regulation like the Press Council or the TV channels. The government is receiving suggestions on how to regulate its content. We are receiving several letters every day concerning these topics,” he said. 

It must be noted that recently, OTT platforms and online news platforms have been brought under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. 

The minister said members of the press must be more responsible and practice responsible journalism. “Freedom of press is the soul of a democracy," he said.

“However, the freedom of press is not unrestrained. It is a responsible freedom. Every freedom comes with certain conditions. We must avoid sensationalism and practice responsible journalism. However, everyone has the right to express their views.” 

“News should not deliberately defame anyone. The way freedom of press is being attacked these days is not good,” he added.

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