A day ahead of the scheduled general elections 2019, the Election Commission of India has asked Delhi chief electoral officer to begin vetting and certifying NaMo TV content by the Media Certification and Monitoring Committee.
A media report citing government sources said that the EC will ask the expenditure incurred towards BJP’s “purported advertising portal”— NaMo TV— to be reflected in BJP’s annual audit and expenditure reports. NaMo TV has also created miff around its regulatory requirements and the EC may also raise questions of legality of such channels/platforms and its implications in the context of the model code of conduct.
Launched on March 31, NaMo TV is a TV channel which features PM Modi and his speeches besides strong BJP-centric content. The BJP social media handles have been tweeting asking viewers to tune in to ‘NaMo TV’ and NaMo app for the PM’s rallies and speeches.
Both the Congress and AAP have complained to the EC on NaMo TV violating the model code of conduct, after which EC began its probe into the alleged violation. The parties have alleged that NaMo TV and its content violate Rule 7(3) of the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994, which forbids religious or political advertising; EC’s instructions on government-funded ads and surrogate advertising as well as Section 126 of the Representation of the People’s Act.
The Congress had also complained to EC about Doordarshan broadcasting BJP’s 1.24-hour long ‘Mein Bhi Chowkidaar’ show live on DD News and its YouTube channel and its promotion on social media handles of DD News. With regards to the complaint, EC has reportedly ticked off Doordarshan for giving ‘excessive coverage’ to the party in power. It has also written to the information and broadcasting ministry on the matter.
The EC has reportedly said that the “airtime coverage given to various political parties by the national broadcaster Doordarshan was disproportionate and not balanced.” The commission has asked Doordarshan to give balanced airtime coverage to all political parties.
[The development was reported by ET.]