India TRP Fixing: BARC Suspends Ratings for News Channels for 3 Months!

The technical committee of BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council) has on 15th October 2020 suspended TRP (Television Rating Point) ratings for all English, Hindi and Regional news channels of India for 12 weeks or three months during which weekly ratings for individual news channels will not be published while the weekly ratings by language and state would continue. The period of suspension, as reports say, would be fully utilized by BARC to completely review and re-haul its sets of rules for calculating the TRP numbers, and thus would try to make the statistics of the biggest television rating agency of the world credible and trustworthy. Up to this point the rules were based on the viewing patterns of a sample of 40 thousand households or 180,000 viewers across the country through installation of people’s meter device in their TV sets, to determine the standards and patterns of nearly 200 million television viewing households or around 836 million viewers in India. President of the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) has welcomed the decision as a step in the right direction.
This decision comes in the wake of the TRP-fixing by a few news channels, the Republic TV most prominently. A complaint to this effect had been filed recently by BARC with Mumbai Police through Hansa Research Group. It was alleged in the complaint that the said channels are bribing families in whose television sets meters have been installed for collecting viewership data to tune in to the particular channels continuously. Accordingly, the Mumbai police commissioner held a press briefing in Mumbai to announces the start of investigations to probe the channels allegedly trying to manipulate TRP data to garner more advertisement revenues.
This development was also preceded by a few stormy months during which a few news channels had started media trials to convert the apparent suicide of a rising film star, Sushant Singh Rajput, into a murder conspiracy and accordingly, ‘investigative’ campaigns to howl for the blood the ‘accused’ along with slander campaigns to malign a number of cinema celebrities allegedly associated in the ‘murder’ angle and drug-abuse charges. The government of Maharashtra and Mumbai police were also vilified in the campaigns. Three premier investigative agencies were put into the scene to file charge-sheets and jail the ‘accused’, primarily named in the media trials, all for apparent political gains. At the moment, their investigations have almost petered out, none of them being able to justify the murder angle. In the month of October 2020 all the leading producers of the Hindi film industry, Bollywood, had filed a petition in Delhi High Court complaining against the media trials and slander campaigns by two prominent national news channels, the Republic and Times Now. In the meantime, to-watch-or-not-to-watch news channels has become an existential crisis for the common people of the country.
In fact, since the coming to power of the Hindu nationalist NDA government in India in 2014 and its aggressive push for a Hindu nation, the news channels and the Indian media had been increasingly getting polarized along ideological lines, with some pushing for agenda-oriented and brazenly communal campaigns while the others struggling with their neutral-journalism stands. Fake news and manipulations in the social media have also been the disturbing developments during the same period.
Under the liberal push of the Dr. Manmohan Singh Government in 1991 private international television broadcasting players were allowed to take part in the Indian broadcasting scenario which hitherto had been dominated by the national broadcaster, Doordarshan. So then, satellite cable entertainment channels had started coming in from the early nineties and news channels had started proliferating since the mid-nineties. Cut-throat competition thus began with the proliferating channels fighting for their respective chunks of viewership. Audience research had thus become an issue of paramount importance.
TAM or Television Audience Measurement, a private concern to measure TV viewership in India, started operations since the mid-nineties, and was soon joined by INTAM or Indian National Television Audience Measurement by ORG-MARG. The ride of the TRP competition and measurement had always been a roughshod journey with most of the channels contesting the statistical figures making their own claims and some of them launching bitter legal battles against the agencies. In view of this, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, started deliberations to build a more credible and complete rating agency in 2008, trying to involve all the stakeholders in the business. After various reports by various committees and recommendations by TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) the concept of BARC was formalized in 2010 as a joint industry body founded by the stakeholders: the broadcasters, the advertisers and the advertising & media agencies, and it started its operations from 2013-14. In a landmark move in 2015, TAM and INTAM got merged with BARC. However, the recent developments and various charges/allegations in the preceding years have again proved that a complete and trustworthy rating agency is still a distant dream.
While audience research and rating for the competing broadcasting groups cannot be dome away with, the TRP analysis for the news channels can definitely be abolished altogether, leaving the news channels to concentrate on good and unbiased content to win the respective viewership. This would also liberate the sober news channels from unnecessary cut-throat wars or controversial statistics or rigging over the TRP. Further, news is very close to the physical reality, informing the viewers about the developments in all fields of activity, and any tampering with the news content, making it biased or fake or just unreliable would be an absolute disservice to the citizens. Therefore, we also join the many voices that are already in the ups, for a total stop of the TRP system for the news channels. Suspension is most welcome, but it has to be the fore-bearer of more drastic action.

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New Penalties for Employing Illegal Overseas Workers in Australia

On 1 June 2013 the Migration Amendment (Reform of Employer Sanctions) Act 2013 and the Migration Amendment Regulation 2013 (No. 3) came into effect.The Act introduces new civil penalties for Australian employers that employ workers from overseas who are not allowed to work, or employ overseas workers in breach of work-related visa conditions.Under the new laws, employers are liable even if they do not know that a worker is not allowed to work or has work-related visa conditions.Employers may also be liable even if the illegal worker was referred to them by an employment agency.Executive officers of companies (directors, secretaries, CEOs and CFOs) may also be liable if they do not take all reasonable steps to prevent the company from employing illegal workers.However, if employers can prove that they took “reasonable steps at reasonable times” to verify that their workers are allowed to work in Australia without breaching their visa conditions, they will not be liable.Employing non-Australian workers – the basicsAustralian citizens and New Zealand citizens who live in Australia are allowed to work in Australia.People from other countries need to hold a visa to legally enter or remain in Australia.Some visas do not allow the visa holder to work at all. Other visas have work-related conditions that restrict the type or amount of work the visa holder can do.OffencesIt is illegal to allow a non-citizen who does not hold a visa to work.It is illegal to allow a non-citizen who holds a visa to work in breach of a work-related condition of their visa.It is illegal to refer a non-citizen for work if they do not hold a visa or if it breaches a work-related condition of their visa.Employers who are visa sponsors have additional obligations that are not dealt with in this article. It is an offence to breach those sponsorship obligations.Penalties and fines for employersThe new civil penalties for employers range from $1,530 for individuals and $7,650 for companies for a first infringement notice to a maximum civil penalty of $15,300 for individuals and $76,500 for companies.There are also criminal penalties including imprisonment and substantial fines for employers who knew, or were reckless as to whether the worker was not allowed to work or had work restrictions.Required checksThe new laws require Australian employers to take “reasonable steps at reasonable times” to verify that their workers are allowed to work in Australia without breaching their visa conditions.Australian citizens, permanent residents or New Zealand citizensBefore employing workers who claim to be Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents or New Zealand citizens, employers should inspect official documents that verify the worker’s citizenship status.Workers from overseasBefore employing overseas workers, employers should check their visa details AND work-related visa conditions on the Department of Immigration and Citizenship’s Visa Entitlement and Verification Online (VEVO) computer system.Temporary visas – employers should note the visa expiry date of workers who hold temporary visas and check VEVO again immediately after that date to ensure the workers have been granted a new visa and check for any work-related visa conditions.Bridging visas are short-term visas with no fixed expiry date usually granted while the visa holder awaits the outcome of a visa application. Employers should check VEVO regularly to ensure that workers who hold bridging visas continue to hold a visa and check for any work-related visa conditions.Workers referred by contractors or labour hire companiesOn 1 June 2013 the Migration Amendment (Reform of Employer Sanctions) Act 2013 and the Migration Amendment Regulation 2013 (No. 3) came into effect.The Act introduces new civil penalties for Australian employers that employ
workers from overseas who are not allowed to work, or employ overseas workers in breach of work-related visa conditions.Before employing workers referred by a third party, employers should get written verification that they are allowed to work in Australia and whether they have any work-related visa conditions.RecordkeepingThe onus is on employers to prove that they took reasonable steps to verify that their workers are allowed to work in Australia without breaching their visa conditions.It is therefore vital that employers keep records of all checks that they do including the dates they do them and to keep copies of any related documents such as passports that they inspect.Duties of executive officersExecutive officers of companies should take all reasonable steps to ensure the company complies with all laws relating to employing non-Australian workers.All of the company’s employees, agents and contractors who are from overseas or who are involved in hiring, rostering or supervising employees from overseas should be given any necessary training to ensure that the company does not employ overseas workers in breach of work-related visa conditions.

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Health and Fitness Through Weight Loss

Most people tend to judge other people’s health and fitness levels by their physical appearance. A common assumption is that if someone is over weight, they are not fit. Unfortunately, everyone’s weight is a clue as to whether or not they are eating healthy foods and are exercising.It is not uncommon to find that lower self-esteem and being over weight tend to go hand in hand. The more extra weight someone is carrying around, the more limited physically that person will be. If you are one of those people, now is the time to put the past behind and start a weight loss program that will help resolve those issues.Ideally, finding out what is causing you to gain weight is the best place to start. People tend to over eat for a variety of reasons including boredom, stress, depression, etc. These issues will need to be addressed before any weight loss program can be successful.It is also important to know why you want to lose weight. People that successfully lose weight and keep it off have addressed the why of their weight gain and have a strong reason for wanting to lose the weight. Strong motivation will keep you going even if you hit a plateau.It is important for anyone deciding to start a healthy diet plan to completely commit to taking care of themselves and stick to their plan long term. Any successful diet plan will require lifestyle changes that are permanent. Making changes for a short period of time just to lose weight will only allow for short time weight loss. Losing weight and then gaining it right back is not the way to get your body healthy.Anyone that wants to be successful at getting into shape and losing weight is going to need help. Get your family and friends involved because you need their support. You need someone that you can call when you feel like giving up. It would be great if a family member or friend would also commit to your weight loss plan.Don’t panic if you cheat once in awhile. Remember that just because you fall off the wagon once, does not mean that you should just give up. Pick yourself up and get right back to work on your plan. Everyone is going to slip up on occasion but don’t let that completely derail your weight loss goals.In order to lose weight safely, you should always consider getting professional help. The more weight someone has to loose, the harder it is going to be to stick to a plan long term. It is also very important to see a doctor and get a physical before starting any weight loss plan.Stick with it, keep your eyes on the final goal and use your support system. If you would like your own personal fat burning meal plans CLICK HERE here to get them.

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