The ministry asked the Broadcasters Audience and Research Council (BARC) to release the news ratings with immediate effect and also to release the last three months data for the genre in a monthly format

Representational Image. Reuters

The News Broadcasters and Digital Association (NBDA) on Thursday said it stands vindicated after the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) asked Indian broadcasters’ body BARC to release news ratings with immediate effect after the council said it has taken initiatives to revise its protocols and mechanisms.

NBDA said, “The News Broadcasters and Digital Association’s (NBDA) stands vindicated as the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MoI&B) recognises the need for improvement, acknowledges the deficiencies, the need to urgently increase sample size and systemic corrections.”

The ministry had on Wednesday asked the Broadcasters Audience and Research Council (BARC) to release the news ratings with immediate effect and also to release the last three months data for the genre in a monthly format for “fair and equitable representation” of true trends.

The government while directing BARC to release news ratings said, “In the spirit of the TRP Committee Report and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI’s) recommendation of April 24, 2020, Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) has undertaken revision in its processes, protocols, oversight mechanism and initiated changes in governance structure etc.”

The MIB has decided to set up a Joint Working Group under the Chairmanship of Prasar Bharti CEO Shashi Shekhar Vempati to study the potential for leveraging Return Path Data (RPD) from set-top boxes.

This comes after over a year of suspension of television news ratings following the controversy surrounding the alleged TRP (television rating points) scam which came to the fore in October 2020.

The association however suggested changes to make systems more transparent, robust and reliable. “BARC should also evaluate ways to enhance data security and ensure that there is no manual intervention at any step in the ratings process. We hope before any ratings are released, these measures are in place. We will continue to work with all stakeholders on refining the Outlier Policy to eliminate statistical anomalies and increasing the sample size to strengthen the credibility of data,” it said.

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