News Broadcasting Federation (NBF) has urged union information and broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar for his urgent intervention, to prevent vested interests from stopping the publication of TV ratings by BARC.
NBF president Arnab Goswami has written in a letter addressed to the minister that there have been attempts made by some vested interests to put pressure via the ministry to stop the publication of ratings measured by BARC India (Broadcast Audience Research Council) during this crisis period of COVID-19 lockdown, when the news channels in India are working tirelessly in this national effort against the virus.
Goswami wrote, “I am informed that some of these vested interests, who are trying to stop ratings in this period, are doing so to protect their commercial interests, and falsely claiming to represent the news broadcasting industry of India.”
He requested Javadekar not to allow any such decision or any such communication from MIB (Ministry of Information and Broadcasting) or anyone associated with the ministry to BARC. According to him, such a move is worrying news broadcasters and taking their attention away from the collective goal of defeating COVID-19, ensuring the lockdown is successful and the country comes through this together.
He also pointed out to the minister that if such a move is implemented, it will destroy the news broadcasting industry in India, which is doing an incredible job at this crucial juncture.
“You are aware that the efforts of the news channels have been appreciated by one and all, including the prime minister in his recent video conference with owners and editors of some news channels. In order to continue the effort, which in this period involves creation of informative and relevant news content while covering the entire country at a time when communication and transport is not easy, our hundreds of thousands of professionals are working round the clock, and taking this battle on the frontlines to ensure that COVID 19 is defeated. If news channels also face a situation when ratings are stopped, we will be destroyed and our organisations will be at peril,” Goswami added in the letter.
He reminded the minister that while individual channels or bodies may claim to speak for the news broadcasters, they are only defending their short-term interests. He also emphasised on the fact that news broadcasters are completely dependent on publication of TV ratings to run their business. “We are doing committed public service broadcasting in this period of national emergency,” he stated.
The letter has been copied to the relevant authorities at BARC for their information as well.