This Article is From Oct 09, 2020

Look Into TRP Scam, Karti Chidambaram Tells House IT Panel Chief Shashi Tharoor

Government uses public funds to advertise on television based on TRPs, Karti Chidambaram said.

Karti Chidambaram wants Shashi Tharoor to summon Information and Broadcasting Ministry officials.

New Delhi:

Congress MP Karti Chidambaram today wrote to party colleague Shashi Tharoor saying the Parliament's Standing Committee on Information Technology must take up the alleged TRP or Television Rating Points manipulation that the Mumbai Police revealed on Thursday.

In his letter to Shashi Tharoor, the committee's chairman, Karti Chidambaram said ratings were the basis on which the government used public funds to advertise on television.

"The recent issue surrounding Television Rating Points of Television channels has cast doubts on the legitimacy and reliability of the system," he wrote.

Mumbai Police on Thursday said three TV channels, including Republic TV, were being investigated for allegedly gaming ratings and using them to spread fake narratives and gain advertising revenues. Owners of two such channels have been arrested, Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh said. Officials of Republic TV were to be summoned soon for questioning.

"Government advertising expenditure depends on this (TRP) system, but public spending should not be based on flawed data," wrote the Congress MP from Sivaganga.

"I request you to call before the committee…officials of the responsible ministry, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, to seek necessary clarifications on the current situation and remedial measures," he wrote.

Mr Tharoor was last month reappointed chairman of the reinstated IT panel, days after he faced criticism from the BJP for his summons to Facebook officials over reports in the US media suggesting that the social media giant had not applied hate speech rules on members of the BJP and some rightwing outfits. Two BJP members of the panel had called for Mr Tharoor's removal as chairman and called his summons against the rules.

Facebook executives did appear before the panel in early September and they were asked several questions raised by MPs from the ruling as well as opposition parties.