The News Broadcasters Association (NBA) urged the Government to withdraw the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the alleged Television Rating Points , TRP scam, saying it may lead to a witch-hunt against the media.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had on Tuesday took over the case against alleged manipulation of Television Rating Points (TRP) after an FIR was registered in this regard in Uttar Pradesh. The central agency took over the probe from Lucknow police on the recommendation of Uttar Pradesh government. A case was registered in Lucknow’s Hazratganj police station on the complaint of a person named Kamal Sharma, which was transferred to the CBI. The FIR has been registered against unidentified people. The charges include manipulating the TRPs using forged means in TRP Scam.
The Statement released by NBA highlighting TRP Scam further states that the Association “is very disturbed at the turn of events in Mumbai as the clash between Republic TV and Mumbai police is posing a threat to the credibility and respect of two great institutions, the media and the police.”
Further, the statement i n TRP scam expresses the concern of NBA as to how journalists working in the newsroom have become victims of the unfortunate conflict. “(The conflict) is posing a threat to the credibility and respect of two great institutions, the media and the police,” the Statement reads.
Referring to Republic TV, the Statement says,
“We do not approve of the kind of journalism that is being practiced by Republic TV. And even though Republic TV is not a member of NBA and does not subscribe to our Code, we still take strong exception to cases filed against its editorial staff.”
News Broadcasters Assocation has firmly stated in its Press Release that it “stands for the freedom of speech and expression of the media as enshrined in the Constitution of India“.
At the same time, the Statement reads, “we endorse the practice of ethics in journalism and put fair and balanced reporting at the core of what we report upon. NBA reprehends any attempt to target journalists doing their work in newsrooms but, on the other hand, we disapprove of any vengeful reporting by media.” (emphasis supplied)
Significantly, the Press Release states,
“We condemn the reporting of baseless stories which subverts and interferes with the functioning of the law enforcement agencies. We appeal to the Mumbai police to ensure that no journalists are made victims of this crossfire.” (emphasis supplied)
The Statement makes an appeal to the journalists working with Republic TV, “not to cross the Lakshman Rekha as clearly observed by the Bombay High Court.“
Further, the NBA makes an appeal that non-member broadcasters follow the Code of Ethics and Guidelines of NBSA.
It further says in TRP Scam,
“The speed with which the case was transferred to CBI overnight raises doubts about the intentions. A complaint filed against unknown persons by an individual who has no locus standi may lead to a witch-hunt against the media, its advertisers and advertising agencies. We sincerely urge the government to immediately withdraw the case referred to CBI.“