afaqs!

After NaiDunia, Pragativadi finds fault with IRS, sues MRUC

By Dhaleta Surender Kumar , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | June 16, 2008
The Oriya daily says its readership figures are shown as much lower than its actual circulation as certified by ABC

Oriya daily & #BANNER1 & #Pragativadi has sent a legal notice to the Media Research Users Council (MRUC) for discrepancies in the Indian Readership Survey (IRS) 2008 Round 1 conducted by the latter. According to Pragativadi officials, the survey shows the Oriya daily's readership far below its actual circulation (certified by ABC, July-December 2007).

According to Samahit Bal, managing director and publisher, Pragativadi, the suit was filed in the junior division court at Bhubaneswar on June 12, and the court sent a notice to the MRUC to reply to the plaintiff's plea that very day.

However, Sabina Solomon, general manager, MRUC, when she spoke to afaqs! on June 14, denied having received any notice from the court. "I don't have anything to say because we haven't received any notice," she said.

Pragativadi has alleged that the MRUC has "arbitrarily put the total readership of Pragativadi at 0.73 lakh", which is "far less than the circulation figure of 1,82,089 copies in the state, as per ABC (July-December 2007)." ABC (July-December 2007) has put the circulation figures of Pragativadi at 39,342 copies in Bhubaneswar and 16,229 copies in Cuttack. The IRS has put the newspaper's readership at 7,000 and 3,000 copies, respectively, in the two cities.

Samahit Bal
Bal says that while Pragativadi's competitor in Orissa, Samaj, is just about 20,000 copies ahead of it, "IRS has put the readership of Samaj at about 15 lakh and ours at a mere 70,000 - more than 1.1 lakh less than our circulation. The figures being circulated by the MRUC are totally false, baseless, concocted and will harm the reputation of our publication house."

The daily has alleged that Pragativadi has repeatedly requested the MRUC to not include it in its survey, but the "request has fallen on deaf ears".

"We are not requesting them to give us good numbers. We are just asking them to not include us in their survey," says Bal. "The masthead is our copyright and they have no right to use it for their stupid survey without our permission."

Bal says another Oriya daily, Dharitri, had filed a similar suit against the MRUC a few years ago, and since then, it has not been included in the survey. Dharitri officials were not available for comment at the time of filing this story.

Naidunia, an Indore based Hindi daily, also filed a suit against the MRUC in May. According to Naidunia officials, the Hindi daily had increased its circulation in Indore, but this was not reflected in the IRS figures; the readership shown in the IRS was far less than the circulation figures certified by ABC.