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The supplemental charge sheet filed by the Mumbai police in investigations into the manipulation of TRP by some news channels, including Republic TV , the Whatsapp chat between Republic TV editor Arnab Goswami and the recently arrested former CEO of the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), Pratho Dasgupta, reveals an unhealthy intimate relationship.
The chats allegedly show Goswami and Dasgupta, former colleagues of the Times group, discussing politicians, journalists, news networks and the PRT system.
Newslaundry was unable to independently authenticate the content of the chats, which capture both Goswami's aggressive, anxious and joyous moods, and Dasgupta's serious entertainment with his friend's volatile temperament and difficult demands at the expense of professional ethics.
On April 4, 2019, a few days before the general election, Mr. Dasgupta asked Mr. Goswami to stop the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRAI) proposal to make BARC display data public instead of simply providing it to the channels. Mr. Dasgupta tells Mr. Goswami that if the data is made public, many channels could be blocked by multiple system operators (MSOs) and local cable operators (LCOs).
"With the public data, the MSOs and LCOs will pressure them for more capacity.
These were Dasgupta's words to Goswami.
In the face of this, Goswami assures him that when the BJP government returns, the TRAI will have no teeth. She also asked Dasgupta to send her points on how these reforms could politically damage the government.
"With the channels being blocked, the impact of the messages on television will reach fewer people and therefore a diluted impact"
Dasgupta responded according to the transcript. Mr. Dasgupta also added:
"Can you help by telling AS to tell TRAI to go easy on BARC?
The reference to "AS" is also made repeatedly in the transcript, and Mr. Goswami claims to have a close relationship with him. The initials are not written anywhere on the transcript.
Two days later, Mr. Goswami responds that "a strong message has been conveyed to TRAI.
This is not the only case in which Mr. Dasgupta seeks Mr. Goswami's help against TRAI, so we see a very intimate and trusting relationship for these activities.