Tuesday, November 10, 2020
India's right-wing news media outlet, Republic TV, has landed into another trouble after its distribution head was arrested Tuesday by the Mumbai Police days after the editor-in-chief, Arnab Goswami, was detained.
Republic Media Network Assistant Vice President Ghanshyam Singh was arrested in a case over alleged rigging of Television Rating Points (TRPs), making him the 12th person to be detained by the Mumbai Police's Crime Intelligence Unit (CIU).
Singh was reportedly involved in manipulating the TRPs in a bid to show that Republic TV and its programmes were the most watched in India. He was scheduled to be produced before a court.
According to NDTV, the TRP rigging scandal came to the fore after Mumbai-based ratings agency Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) in a complaint to the Hansa Research Group accused certain television channels of manipulating their TRP statistics.
Interestingly, the publication quoted police sources as saying "some viewers have testified they were paid to keep Republic TV on even when they were not watching" and that "two local channels — Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema — were named in early investigations".
The scandal has become part of bigger discussion on India's manipulation of news and building of false narratives.
Arnab Goswami, the Republic TV boss notorious for screaming while hosting live talk shows, was arrested by the Mumbai Police in connection with a suicide case registered in 2018. On Sunday, he was seen begging for his bail to be approved after he was shifted to Taloja Jail.
Claiming that his "life [is] under threat", Goswami could be heard hurling allegations at the authorities who "won't let [him] talk".
"I request... please let me talk," he can be heard saying in his usual panic-inducing tone. "I am telling the Indian people that my life is in danger."
The Republic TV anchorperson had claimed that the authorities did not want him to get out of the jail. "You can see my condition, they dragged me in the morning, they tried to bring me to this jail at night," Arnab Goswami was heard saying.