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I&B wants to know what you watch, proposes chip installation in set-top boxes

Monitor News Bureau

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New Delhi, Apr 16: Smriti Irani-led Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry has proposed installation of a chip in new television set-top boxes which will provide data about channels watched and their duration.

A senior official of the ministry said the move is aimed to get “more authentic” viewership figures for every channel.

“This would help advertisers and the DAVP to spend their advertising expenditure wisely. Only those channels which are widely watched will get promoted,” the official added.

 

The Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP) is the nodal agency of the government for advertising by various ministries and its organisations.

In the proposal, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry has told the TRAI, “It is also proposed to ask DTH operators to install a chip in the new set-top boxes which can give data about channels watched and their duration.”

The proposal was part of the ministry’s response to a number of recommendations made by the TRAI on issues related to new direct-to-home licenses.

The official said the ministry also “feels that Doordarshan viewership is under-reported” and if the chip is installed, it would give the real viewership figures of the channel.

The move is seen to end the monopoly of the Broadcast Audience Research Council India (BARC), which measures the television audience preferences in the country.

The ministry official alleged that the BARC is “almost like a monopoly and there is no alternative” and it “does not reveal how they arrive at the viewership figures, methodology they apply and the area of survey”.

The official said the ministry discussed the possibility of procuring about 300 people meter and randomly installing them to verify the veracity of BARC data, but 300 meter were too small number to meaningfully compare and verify data.

He said the BARC measures viewership by installing 30,000 people meter, which are soldered to the TV’s mother board.

The official said nobody would allow such thing to be done on their television sets and thus there were concerned about the genuineness of the assessment done through volunteers.

The BARC, however, refuted the accusations.

“We are a joint industry body that was set up in close consultation with all stakeholders, including government representatives and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). Our data collection and reporting methodology was arrived at post these consultations and consensus. TRAI is telecom and broadcasting sector watchdog.

“Guided by the goals of transparency, the detailed methodology has always been available on our website,” BARC India spokesperson said.

He said the BARC operates within the regulatory framework as mandated by the ministry’s guidelines.

“We also meet regularly with officials of ministry and TRAI to brief them and provide status report on our operations. The same has been done through periodic presentations,” the spokesperson said.

He said that the BARC always had government nominee on its Board and also on its technical committee.

“We will be happy to again meet and address all their queries for which we have been seeking a meeting with them since some time,” the spokesperson added.

The TRAI, in its response to the ministry’s suggestions, recently said, ?Regarding asking DTH operators to install a chip in new set-top boxes, it is stated that this is a new issue and cannot be part of the reference.

“If the MIB (Ministry of Information and Broadcasting) desires TRAI’s recommendation on this issue, it may send a separate reference to TRAI as per the provisions of the TRAI Act 1997,? it said.


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Police seeks adjournment of Kathua rape, murder trial, says ‘accused being major or minor still undecided’

Press Trust of India

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Jammu, Jul 15: Jammu and Kashmir police’s crime branch Monday moved a plea before a juvenile justice board hearing the case of an accused in the gangrape and murder of a young girl in Kathua, seeking deferment of the trial as the state high court is yet to decide whether he is a minor or not.
Appearing before the board, the special public prosecutor of the crime branch submitted that the high court is yet to pronounce its decision on an application moved against the decision of a Kathua court which accepted the accused’s claim that he is a minor, officials said.
The board, after framing charges against the accused who played a key role in kidnapping, rape and murder of the eight-year-old nomadic girl, had fixed Monday for examining prosecution witnesses and commencing of trial.
The board, after examining the plea of the crime branch, however, made it clear that there was no stay by the high court on holding the trial and gave prosecution two weeks to produce evidence and its witnesses in the case.
The crime branch had filed a petition in the high court against the accused’s claim of being a juvenile and said that the then chief judicial magistrate in Kathua had erred in accepting it.
The crime branch had also annexed a report of the medical board of Government Medical College, Jammu, which said the accused was “not less than 19 and not more than 21” years of age
However, the case has seen repeated adjournments last year.
The juvenile justice board had framed charges on July 8 following which it issued a notice to the crime branch, asking them to bring in their prosecution evidence and witnesses for the trial.
According to the notice, “the next date of hearing has been fixed on July 15”.
“The case has been fixed for prosecution evidence… Kindly arrange the presence of public prosecutor appointed in the case so as to examine the prosecution evidence/ witnesses,” it said.
The trial in this case was shifted to the Pathankot Sessions Court on the directions of the Supreme Court last year.
The Pathankot Sessions Court had on June 10 this year sentenced Sanji Ram, dismissed special police officer Deepak Khajuria and Parvesh Kumar to life imprisonment, while sacked policemen Anand Dutta, Tilak Raj and Surender Verma were handed five years in jail.
The verdict came 17 months after the girl was brutally gang-raped inside a ‘devisathan’ (local temple) and later killed. She was kidnapped on January 10 and her body was found on January 17.

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Four arrested for thrashing teachers, students in Budgam

Syed Nashir Ali Gillani

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Srinagar, Jul 15: Under pressure, Jammu and Kashmir police have arrested four people involved in the attack on school picnickers at Raiyar village in Central Kashmir’s Budgam district on Saturday evening.
Six people including two girls and a teacher were injured when a group of youth armed with rods and canes attacked school picnickers at Raiyar village. The incident occurred on Saturday evening when the students and teachers of Hanfiya Model Higher Secondary School (HMHSS), Kreeri in Baramulla district, were returning from Doodpathri after a daylong picnic.
Police swung into action immediately and registered a case of attempt to murder under section 307 Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) against the unknown attackers.
Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Budgam, Amod Nagpuri told The Kashmir Monitor that four persons have been arrested and further investigation was going on.
“Yes, four persons have been arrested from Raiyar, where the incident took place. They have been booked under section 307 RPC,” Nagpuri said.
Jehangir Ahmad, a teacher at HMHSS, said photographs of eight people were sent (by police) to school authorities for identification.
“After going through the photographs, we identified four persons,” he said.
Ahmad said the injured physical teacher continues to be under observation in Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS).
“Patient was referred from SDH Khan Sahib as a case of assault with head injury. NCCT head showing parietooccipital EDH with parietotemporal contusions,”read the SKIMS report issued on Sunday.
Police sources said that during investigation statements of the injured were also recorded and on that basis four attackers were later arrested

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470 militant attacks took place in 2017, 2018: Goel tells RS

Agencies

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New Delhi, Jul 15: As many as 470 militant attacks took place in the country in 2017 and 2018, the government informed Rajya Sabha on Monday.
In a written reply to a question by BJP MP Vijay Goel, Minister of State for Defence said in 2017, 131 militant attacks occurred in Jammu and Kashmir, eight in Manipur and one in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh each
In 2018, 318 militant attacks took place in Jammu and Kashmir, eight in Manipur and three in Nagaland.
The minister told the House that 235 militants were killed in various counter-insurgency and counter-infiltration operations in 2017. In 2018, the number of militants killed stood at 265.
The Army lost 85 soldiers in these two years – 42 in 2017 and 43 in 2018.

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