Charge sheet filed against 7 people for manipulating BARC viewership data. Hyderabad police registers case against seven people for tampering TV viewership.
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The cases were registered by the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC)’s vigilance wing with the Marredpally police. This is the recent incident in which BARC has taken action. Earlier, BARC had taken action against viewership tampering in Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh & Assam.
The police has registered cases under Sections 406 (criminal breach of trust) and 420 (cheating) of the IPC, read with 34. While 7 people accused were detained a few months ago, this is the first time that a charge sheet has been filed. The accused tried to influence viewers in BARC households where meters were installed.
BARC had noted that the highest number of instances have been reported from markets in South India: 6 from Tamil Nadu, 5 from AP/ Telangana and 1 from Karnataka. Penal action has been taken against 12 channels in India. It may be recalled that FIRs were filed in Telangana and arrests have been made in Karnataka and Gwalior.
BARC India has also engaged with TRAI & Ministry of Information & Broadcasting to get regulatory support and legal provisions to make panel tampering a punishable offence.
In July, BARC India had upped its vigilance drive with stronger counter-measures to protect the system from Panel Tampering and other unfair practices with respect to manipulation of television viewership.
In March 2017, BARC India had set up an independent Disciplinary Committee (DisComm) to probe complaints of viewership malpractice. Over the course of last 28 months, 18 cases have been referred to the DisComm with evidence of such malpractices. The DisComm is headed by Justice Mukul Mudgal, former Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court, and has representation of all three industry bodies Indian Broadcasting Federation (IBF), Indian Society of Advertisers (ISA) and Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI).