Republic Media Network on Sunday issued threats to media houses reporting on the ongoing TRP probe and the purported WhatsApp chats between Republic's Founder and Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami and former BARC India CEO Partho Dasgupta.
Republic had earlier responded to questions raised by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, the Congress party and Rahul Gandhi, after it came to light that Goswami regularly shared sensitive information with Dasgupta in WhatsApp chats.
It is important to note that Republic and Goswami have never denied the content of the chats. On the contrary, the latest statement by Republic has quoted these chats several times.
BestMediaInfo.com was the first media outlet to access and report the content of the WhatsApp chats exposing the âRampant exchange of info between BARC Indiaâs former heads and Republic top brass: Mumbai Police in chargesheetâ, which was followed by another piece titled âCommentary: Was Partho Dasgupta being played by Arnab Goswami?â.
Later, following NBAâs demand to suspend Republic channels' ratings and IBF membership, Arnab Goswami-led NBF attempted to change the goal post.
In its trademark style, Republic Media Network hasn't addressed a single issue raised by BestMediaInfo.com and the industry. The broadcaster is now trying to shift the goal post in its statement.
Republic has issued threats against the channels and journalists reporting on the purported WhatsApp chats three times in a statement:
*Republic Media Network intends to take the strongest legal action against these 'journalists', who will be made responsible for every word and every falsehood they have uttered.
*We want to make it clear that we will take the strongest possible legal action against any individual or party who has uttered a single falsehood against us.
*We will not leave any stone unturned to take strong legal action against individuals, entities, political parties and news media publications and channels for spreading falsehoods against us.
How Republic is deflecting the issue
By providing no clear answers on the purported leaked chats between Goswami and Dasgupta and counter-questioning the rival channels and the news broadcast industry at large, Republic is resorting to the tactics it is best known for: 'ducking the questions and responsibility by being aggressive'.
In its attempt to deflect the issue by targeting its rival Times Now for rampant usage of landing page, Republic Media Network ignored the leaked chats reported by BestMediaInfo.com, which showed Goswami boasting about his landing page on West Bengalâs one of the largest cable networks ICNCL. On the other hand, Republic CEO Vikas Khanchandani routinely shared the details of landing pages bought by Republic.
While the legality and fairness of the usage of the landing page are still being debated, Goswami accepted in a chat with Dasgupta that they have âlesser dualâ than Times Now, which is declared illegal according to TRAI.
On May 15, 2017, Goswami wrote to Dasgupta, âWe have less dual than Times Now.â
Point 3 of the statement titled âthe purported chats show complaints about Times Now's attempts to manipulate dataâ is backed by Goswami telling Dasgupta on July 6, 2017: âjust bringing to your attention Gujarat 10-75 lakh market growth in time spent from 2 min to 18 min and impressions up by 763% for times now seems suspicious.â
Now, read the following chat reported by BestMediaInfo.com to understand the motive of the complaints:
Goswami informed Dasgupta on July 7, 2017: Got ICNCL Landing (Referring to Kolkata market)
On August 3, 2017, Goswami wrote: Kolkata there is now clear proof they are tampering. Our reach is lower than them when they have no landing and we have ICNCL which is the biggest players. This is the market where NewsX person has given home data to Times Now local person Rituraj.
Crackdown on these cheats, Goswami wrote.
To which Dasgupta replied: Data is cleaned.
Apparently, the modus operandi was: Get all the inputs about distribution strategy from BARC management. Inform the BARC management about your landing pages. Complain about othersâ landing pages. Share all the important news broadcast lists of Republic with the BARC management so that Republicâs numbers could be justified week by week.
Point 4 of the statement titled âTimes Now's landing pages were caught by the computerised outlier policy of BARC, and is extensively documented in the BARC forensic report part of the Mumbai police chargesheetâ says the reduction in Times Now's numbers was a result of implementation of the Outlier Policy by BARC and Not as a result of any TRP manipulation. Please note the explicit use of the words, 'Raw Data Before Outlier Cleaning'.
When BestMediaInfo.com examined the chart in the forensic report, it found Republic TVâs final viewership data after outlier cleaning was surprisingly increased by 10, 4 and 3 TVTs in Week 27, 39 and 46 of 2017, respectively.
Now, where did these numbers add from? Were they transferred from any other channel?
Now that all the questions put up by the Republic Media Network have been answered, will the network answer any question raised by BestMediaInfo.com and the industry at large? Or will Republic continue to avoid all the direct questions and shift the goalposts by attempting to malign others?