‘Go straightforward’, former BARC chief cautioned Arnab

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 18

Former Broadcast Audience Research Council chief Partho Dasgupta was acutely aware of the public perception about his closeness to Republic TV boss Arnab Goswami and asked him once to go easy on issues lest misunderstandings grew.

The leaked WhatsApp chats between Goswami and Dasgupta reveal how during one conversation with Arnab on ways to dominate TV viewership, Dasgupta told him, “Honestly please do not do that…People are seeing it differently and think you and I are joined at the hip. Better to raise issues of principles and ensure the independence of BARC, which only the government can do.”

Dasgupta’s remarks came on July 18, 2019, during a conversation where Arnab is asking him to moderate the landing market of a rival channel. Expressing his inability, Dasgupta says, “Unless the government helps, my hands are tied. I am fighting back. No one in the board understands news…” At this, Arnab tells the then BARC chief: “I am with you, I will speak to all and galvanise more support.” Dasgupta at this point asks Arnab only to raise matters of principle with the government.

The chat is purportedly about TV 18 gaining due to a larger share of the landing market. The issue of TV landing market reforms has been pending with TRAI amid concerns that some channels have deals with operators to ensure their channel lands on the screen as soon as a subscriber switches on the TV.

On another occasion, Dasgupta asks Arnab to get someone from the

Delhi Police to “act against Tharoor.”

Republic TV ran a series on the alleged involvement of Congress MP Shashi Tharoor in his wife Sunanda Pushkar’s murder.

Arnab tells Dasgupta, “Boss Tharoor a matter of time; getting more. One of those stories, you got to keep hammering it.”

Meanwhile, amid growing evidence of alleged TRP manipulations by Republic TV with BARC’s help, the opposition clamour for a joint parliamentary committee probe into the matter grew louder today with NCP’s Nawab Malik saying they will make the demand in the Budget Session of Parliament. Congress’ RPN Singh, former Maharashtra CM Ashok Chavan also demanded a probe.

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