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Is Republic TV breaking broadcasting rules for higher viewership?

NBA lodges a formal complaint with TRAI for the first time

BS Web Team 

Arnab Goswami, republic
Arnab Goswami. Photo: Screenshot

The (NBA) has accused Arnab Goswami’s news channel of using unfair methods in order to gain TRPs. The private news channels’ self-regulatory body has asked the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India(TRAI) to intervene in the matter. Interestingly, the newly launched news channel isn’t a member of the NBA yet, as its membership application is being processed.

According to the formal complaint that the NBA lodged with TRAI, has listed itself under multiple genres across cable distribution platforms. This makes the channel all the more probable to be watched by a cable subscriber and consequently, the viewership ratings receive an upward thrust. The NBA has also named multi-system operators Den Networks Ltd, Hathway Cable and Datacom Ltd and several others as violators.

norms require distributors to assign a unique channel number to a TV channel after the channel registers itself under a particular genre, which in effect means a particular channel can be listed under a single genre only.

The NBA has alleged that the channel spearheaded by and promoted by NDA MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar has been listed at multiple locations in various genres in the Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) of various Multi System Operators. Multiple System Operators (MSO) is a term used in the cable industry to describe a company which owns and operates two or more cable TV systems.

This practice of flouting regulations so as to garner TRPs is said to be commonplace in the industry. Recently, CNBC TV18 had been accused of inflating their viewership indices using dual feeds. ET Now had gone as far as filing a formal complaint. India Today TV during its rebranding (from the erstwhile Headlines Today) and Times Now have been aired on multiple slots in the recent past. However, this is the first instance of the NBA taking notice and taking the matter to the

The issue at hand is contentious as the regulation that the letter quotes has been stayed by the Supreme Court after a leading TV network pleaded against them. The had floated new regulations regarding interconnection in March this year. 

Strangely, no big name from the media has commented on the issue yet. During the last week, media stakeholders across the board didn’t spare a chance to take up the cudgels against Goswami’s channel.

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