Thursday, January 10, 2008

AGB Nielsen wants court to cite ABS-CBN for contempt on fight over TV Ratings

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A day after a Quezon City court dismissed ABS-CBN’s P63-million damage and breach of contract complaint against AGB Nielsen Media Research (Philippines), Inc., the ratings firm on Tuesday asked the court to cite the broadcast company in contempt for airing misleading information on the ratings row.

In a petition filed before the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 216 Judge Ofelia Marquez, Francisco Rivera, AGB Nielsen’s legal counsel, said ABS-CBN erred in airing portions of an earlier court order that has, in effect, portrayed the research firm “as having to cease and desist from pursuing its nationwide TAM (television audience measurement) data gathering activities."

“Instead of being accurate in its reporting, the ABS-CBN abused its clout as a broadcaster to engage in an intense media campaign to publicly vilify the petitioner (AGB Nielsen) and gain public sympathy for its cause, evidently to advance its private interest as litigant," AGB Nielsen said.

AGB Nielsen argued that ABS-CBN’s graphics that were aired in some of its shows omitted the key qualifying phrase “from corrupted home panels," making it appear that the research firm’s data-gathering and data-delivery services were totally stopped.

The survey firm noted that the said graphics were aired over ABS-CBN’s news programs Bandila and Umagang Kay Ganda on December 20 and 21 last year, respectively.

The information was lifted from the December 20, 2007 order of QCRTC Branch 80 Judge Charito Gonzales granting the temporary restraining order sought by the ABS-CBN over the ratings dispute.

“The insertion of an ellipsis (…) in place of the qualifying phrase in respondent’s graphics misrepresents the contents and the import of the court order. Respondent (ABS-CBN) is not ignorant of the meaning of the qualifying phrase considering that it is found in paragraph 4.4 and the prayer of its own complaint," AGB Nielsen said, referring to the broadcast company’s P63-million damage suit.

AGB Nielsen further stressed that aside from misinterpreting the court order, ABS-CBN also accused the research firm of having violated the terms of Judge Gonzales’ order. The said accusations were aired at news program Bandila and show biz talk show, The BUZZ on December 21 and 23, 2007, respectively.

The survey firm maintained that it did not violate the terms of the Court order as it ceased from gathering data from corrupted home panels, and neither did it release data from these home panels.

In its petition, AGB Nielsen said that it is entitled to have its case tried fairly by an impartial court uninfluenced by public clamor.

The petitioner further stressed that the respondent’s act not only violated the sub judice rule, but also threatens the integrity of the judicial proceedings pending before Branch 80.

“Respect for due process and the orderly administration of justice, the petitioner prayed that the respondent be declared in contempt and punished accordingly," the petitioner prayed. - GMANews.TV