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Media and TRP Scam


Media is the fourth pillar of a democratic country which reflects like a mirror of the nation. The main work of the media houses is to provide relevant and correct information with proper authentication to the local public of a nation. The race of TRP that is Target Rating Point has increased because of which no one cares about news and only focuses to impose fake allegations. At present, the TRP scam is in the limelight which is reflecting the actual insight of their mindset.


In this 21st century where the media channels are like they have to get more attention towards the programs that they are showing on their channels. This war of getting more views make the newsroom a hot room because only debates and aggressive language has been used there to seek attention.


Television Rating Point (TRP):


Television rating point TRP can be defined as a tool that works to evaluate which program has been viewed the most by the audience. This TRP gives us an idea about the choice of the people regarding the content they want to see on the television. The TRP is calculated by a process in which a device is connected with TV sets in few houses for the further judging process. The device is named as Peopleโ€™s Meter. The numbers that are provided by the device sample from all the TV owners by considering geographical and demographic sectors. The device takes a report of the viewers watching a particular show for what time frame. Then lastly this data is concluded and the final list of TRP Ratings is provided to the people.


Evolution of the issue:


The pandemic year 2020 has a very devastating effect on every individual. There is no city or place which is untouched by this effect. At one point this pandemic is a challenge because of deaths and health issues. This is not only affecting the physical health but also the mental health of an individual. If we talk about India, then issues can be understood easily. There are various changes that have happened in peopleโ€™s lifestyle; they started feeling lonely, no means of earning, jobless, and helpless. The country has also lost many legends and the cases of domestic violence, crimes against women, crimes against humanity, and suicide are at their peak. At this time the overall responsibility has been diverted on the shoulders of the media.


The media has a duty to show the actual condition of society to the people who are at their homes. It can be either related to coronavirus updates or any policies and crimes that are happening at that period of time. The media had kept up raising the heated arguments when the late actor had died accidentally. All the media houses were trying to cover the story with their point of view.


When the case moved on further from police investigation to CBI and then to the Narcotics Control Bureau with regards to drug connection but the media houses were dealing this case with their own story by making false allegations over the people. There is no base for these investigations because nothing can be approved as authenticated if it has been telecasted by the media. Apart from the legal investigation department in legal functioning, the media are interfering in the system which commonly leads to contempt of court and investigation. It means that no media has a right to interfere in the matter which has its ongoing proceedings. Under Article 19 of the Indian Constitution, the right to Freedom of Speech is only applicable to the extent when it is not harming other personโ€™s rights and the allegations which have been propounded by the media if found irrelevant and wrong then it could lead to the case of defamation regarding that person or an organization.


In Printers (Mysore) Ltd v. Asstt. Commercial Tax Officer[1], The court had directed that the rights of media are always cherished in all democratic country and the persons who believe that the full freedom has been given to press then the court has to take care of its rights so that it doesnโ€™t get violated.


In the Limelight of all these media trials and investigation that has been done by media is only there to get attention from the public so that their channel get high TRP. The system of Target Rating Point is defined as more people watch that channel more will be its TRP, the more it's TRP, the more will be advertisements. And lastly, the channel will grow and the income of the channel will increase.


After all these issues, the concept of the TRP scam came into the limelight. Mumbai Police had claimed that some news channels are collecting false TRP. They are playing with the emotions & beliefs of the public and the effectiveness of the news. As in this competitive world, everyone wants to be in the first row, and to win this race a person can go up to any extent. This TRP or race of being number one reduces the quality and effectiveness of news because now they only focus upon the hot and debated issues by defaming and hurting other people's feelings.


Rajesh Talwar v. State of U.P. and others[2], media reported that her father killed her daughter but the court in its verdict said that Rajesh Talwar was not the killer. Right to fair trial is one of the rights of the accused as his own reputation was in danger.


2020โ€™s TRP Scandal:


On 8 October, the Mumbai Police commissioner has claimed that republic TV with other two Marathi local channels are involved in a fraud of manipulating TRP. He said that republic TV along with Bhakt Marathi and Box Cinema originally including in the fraudulent activities. The BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council) association has provided the information to them regarding the scandal. They have lodged an FIR against the said channels. The Republic TV responded to the same and said that the FIR contains the name of the India Today network and not of the Republic TV. The India Today network is also said that a malicious campaign is heading against them and it should not happen. The investigation is going on with regards to the TRP scandal. After all the investigation and the truth behind the fraud TRP can be cleared. Therefore the BARC association has suspended the recognition for 3 months of TRP to find the real culprits and the concepts behind the case.


Disadvantages of TRP Race:


In such news, there is no authentication of the matter. The news channel heads only focus on getting a large number of advertisements to earn money so that they can perfectly run their channel. The main focus of these media channels is not on providing effective news to the people but on making an environment in which people only try to slow down other personalities. This is creating a wrong perception of the new generation as they are unable to get real and effective information. Due to this, they move on to the social media handles where only hatred and abusive words have been used against other people.


Saibal Kumar Gupta and Others V. B.K Sen. And Another[3], It was held that all the cases which are dealt by the media with electronic or newspaper while the proceedings are going in the court should be prevented as it not only interfere in the proceedings of the court but also creates prejudice.


Conclusion:


Media is a reflection of society and it should have to work for the betterment of the people. In a world where everyone thinks before believing any person or source then they have only hope to the media that it will reflect their actual issues to the nation. Since all the perspectives should be in a good direction. Like the media has work to provide information and not to create any hatred environment. This may lead to communal riots in the country which can end peace and humanity in the society. Therefore there should be proper maintenance of what they are showing to the world and how it is affecting society.


โ€œBe strong Togetherโ€



References

[1] 1994 SCR (1) 682, 1994 SCC (2) 434 [2]Criminal Appeal No. 294 of 2014 [3]1961 AIR 633, 1961 SCR (3) 460

[4]https://smallbusiness.chron.com/advertising-trps-37435.html

[5]https://thewire.in/media/trp-manipulation-tv-hate-propaganda

[6]https://www.exchange4media.com/media-tv-news/the-bigger-loss-is-to-us-as-a-society-108253.html

[7]https://www.downtoearth.org.in/coverage/trps-influence-television-content-4723


~Archana Pandey,

BA.LL.B,

Jamnalal Bajaj School of Legal Studies,

Banasthali Vidyapith,

Rajasthan

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