Arnab Goswami’s network alleges ‘political-media conspiracy by Lutyens cartel’
In the cross-fire of allegations and counter-allegations between TV channels, Republic Media Network has in a press release said the “strongest legal action will be taken against those who spread falsehoods and attempted to mislead the public.” Terming the TRP investigation by the Mumbai police “slanted and malicious”, the press release says the Mumbai police “have not been able to establish even one financial trail or criminality by the Republic Media Network.” The release also asks the Competition Commission of India to probe the existence of “collusion and cartelization” in the media industry which is “selectively targeting” Republic TV and Arnab Goswami. The following are some key points from the press release (the full press release can be accessed at https://www.republicworld.com/india-news/general-news/statement-evidence-emerges-about-how-times-now-concealed-truth-about-forensic-report.html):
• Statements by others attributed to Arnab Goswami: No outrageous suggestion/request/statement made by a third party can be attributed to Arnab Goswami. The purported chats, in fact, show that Mr Goswami ignores all inappropriate requests allegedly made to him. Claims of bribes being paid are not supported by even a single sentence in the purported WhatsApp chats.
• Times Now’s landing pages were caught by BARC, and is documented in Mumbai police chargesheet: The forensic report of BARC exposes the fact that Times Now was using landing pages to artificially spike its ratings, which was caught by the algorithmic, computerised process, as per the Outlier Policy of BARC. There is explicit use of the words, “Raw Data Before Outlier Cleaning”.
• Times Now hid how the purported chats show show complaints about Times Now’s attempts to manipulate data: The purported Whatsapp chats that Times Now broadcast show how messages apparently by Arnab Goswami are complaining about the TRP manipulation by other news channels, including Times Now.
• Deliberate concealment by Times Now of manipulation by certain entertainment channels: Does Times Now claim that it is unaware that the BARC forensic report makes references to certain general entertainment channels in the context of TRP manipulation?
• Times Now silent on Hindi channel accused of ‘pre-fixing’ ratings: Times Now concealed how a top Hindi news channel was found guilty of ‘pre-fixing’ the ratings and working with certain BARC officials to manipulate its way to the Number 1 position. The words used the BARC forensic report are: “… external officials of channels hinting about pre-fixing the channel ratings during our analysis.”
• Lutyens cartel hiding selected information: According to the Republic press release, “ Even if Times Now gets the support of the government of Pakistan and the Congress party, it must introspect on the consequences as the truth begins to come out — like a torrent, as it will.” The Republic release alleges that members of the Lutyens industry cartel are being protected and facts are being concealed.
• Open collusion between Congress and Times Now: The Republic release alleges open collusion between Times Now, Congress and others in the media industry who were “goaded on by personal animosity even as they abandoned true facts in the thirst for broadcasting malicious lies against India’s number 1 news network.”
• Times Now, the nation wants to know: The Republic release has put the following questions to Times Now:
- Which Hindi news channel was found guilty as per the BARC forensic report?
- Why is the media not reporting on all aspects dealt with in the forensic report?
- Is it true that the chargesheet itself exposes the rampant landing pages by Times Now?
- Is it true or not that there are several complaints from the Republic Media Network to BARC about manipulation by Times Now?
- Will Times Now publicly declare how much money they spent in the years 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 on landing pages?
- Is it is true or not that BARC itself appointed a 2-member oversight committee which concluded in October 2019 that “there is no manual intervention in the process for treating outliers” and the system is unbiased?
Times Now’s reaction sought
In respect of the Republic Media Network’s press release which was sent to several media houses, TheBengaluruLive sought a reaction from Times Now Editor-in-Chief Rahul Shivshankar. However, by the time the story was published on our portal, we had not received any response from Times Now. TheBengaluruLive will publish Times Now’s reaction as and when it is sent to us by Times Television Network, which owns Times Now.