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Media Games: BARC, A Classic Case Of Conflict Of Interest

In a very highly suspicious move, a Lutyens lobby had launched a staunch opposition against the CBI probe into the fraud TRP case and had demanded the cases be transferred to BARC.

Interesting indeed … But, why BARC?

Just take a look at the list of stakeholders in BARC, you may get the answer. They are but, people belonging to the Lutyens circle.

One is Rupert Murdock,  a media baron, and Wire and Plastic Products, which also owns the biggest advertising agency, Ogilvy & Mather.

BARC is controlled by Murdoch’s Star Group. Star TV’s India operations were handled by Peter Mukerjea, but after his exit in 2005 due to his involvement in murder and corruption cases, TV business expert Uday Shankar managed the operations.
The promoters of BARC are Indian Society for Advertisers, Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), Viacom 18 Media, Eenadu TV, Zee TV Group representatives, Godrej, Procter & Gamble are also on the Board of Directors.

Therefore, the underlining point to be noted here is that the BARC is controlled by agencies, who are into media and advertising businesses, which is in contravention of the Policy Guidelines for Television Rating Agencies in India.

The main rule was that a TV channel or advertising company or its controlling stakeholder should not be part of the TV rating agency.

This sham policy was passed by the Congress-controlled UPA Cabinet on 9 January 2014. The purpose of the policy, framed as per Trai’s recommendations, was to regulate the TV channel rating agencies.

The Information and Broadcasting Minister led by Manish Tiwari had manipulated the guidelines in favor of the BARC by cleverly including two lines to favor Star Group-controlled BARC.

This policy opened the doors for TV channels and advertising agencies to pick stakes into Rs 70,000 crore per year money-spinning BARC, with the help of then Finance Minister P Chidambaram, who violated FDI guidelines.

Astonishingly, a representative of the public broadcaster Prasar Bharti is also on the board controlled by private barons. Why?

It is high time that the Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar throws the UPA guidelines into the dustbin and creates a professional independent television rating agency to stop this organized loot and TRP manipulation by BARC members.

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