EC Seeks Report From I&B Ministry On 'NaMo TV' After Oppositions' Complaint
The Election Commission (EC) has issued a notice seeking a report from the I&B Ministry on NaMo TV, which was secretly launched on March 31, just weeks ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections. This move came after the opposition parties asked the EC to direct the ministry to suspend the broadcast as it violated the Model Code of Conduct (MCC).
However, according to government sources, the ministry might take a call stating that it is an advertisement channel and that it does not require prior permission. It may also say that certain DTH channels may run it after receiving money from BJP.
The day we were most looking forward to is here!
At 5 PM, lakhs of Chowkidars from different parts of India will interact in the historic #MainBhiChowkidar programme.
This is an interaction you must not miss.
Watch it live on the NaMoApp or NaMo TV. pic.twitter.com/XXKkLUuE7X
— Chowkidar Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 31, 2019
According to LiveMint, the notice was issued on Tuesday evening and has given time till Friday evening to submit a report on the channel and its launch. The EC will then take a call on whether it violated the model code. Sources in the ministry said they had not come across a file looking for uplinking and downlinking permission for the channel.
The channel carries a picture of Modi on its logo and is available on various DTH and cable TV platforms. It broadcast election rallies, speeches of the prime minister and interviews of BJP leaders.
In its formal complaint, the Congress mentioned, “the contents are being broadcast in complete violation of the rules and regulations of cable televisions” and that the Union ministry’s list of permitted private satellite channels in India did not mention NaMo TV. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) also complained saying that although a party can have a channel, AAP questioned if permission could be granted “even after the Model Code of Conduct is enforced.” While the ruling BJP party has said that it does not own the channel, BJP leaders and those in upper ranks have urged people to watch the channel to see Modi’s election campaigning.
Reportedly, the EC has separately written to Doordarshan for telecasting live the “Main Bhi chowkidar” programme of Modi on March 31 evening. Moreover, the EC is unlikely to defer the release of the biopic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi as was demanded by the Opposition for alleged violation of the code of conduct. Instead, the decision to certify the movie will lie with the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).