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Namo TV violating poll code? Election Commission seeks details from ministry

The channel, also called 'Content TV', carries the picture of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as its logo. It was launched ahead of Lok Sabha polls beginning April 11.

Published: 03rd April 2019 03:42 PM  |   Last Updated: 04th April 2019 01:30 PM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: NaMo TV, which telecast Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speeches and pro-BJP content, is in the middle of a controversy only a few days after being launched on March 31. Following complaints that the ruling BJP is using NaMo TV for poll propaganda, the Election Commission has written to the Information and Broadcasting ministry seeking a response. 

Sources in I&B ministry said that the channel is an advertising platform that does not need the government’s approval. The poll panel has also learnt to have written to Doordarshan for telecasting live the Modi’s ‘Main bhi chowkidar’ programme on March 31 for an hour.

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Sources with the I & B ministry also said the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in August 2014 had proposed the barring of political parties, religious bodies, government-funded entities and affiliates from entering the broadcasting and television channel distribution sectors. A file was readied on this and is still pending with the government. It also talked about regulations on channels running through DTH platforms.

On March 30, the BJP had informed about the channel through its Twitter handle. “Now you can watch real time coverage of PM @narendramodi’s election campaign on NaMo TV...,” said the party’s official Twitter handle. Amidst the debate on the launch of the channel during the Lok Sabha polls, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley when asked about NaMo TV, said, ‘Appropriate authorities will reply on this.” Sources with the I&B ministry said it is not a normal channel and does not figure in the official list of approved channels of the ministry. It is also not on the list of permitted private satellite TV channels on the ministry’s website. “It is a kind of advertising platform currently being run on some DTH platforms,” sources said.

Sources with the BJP said that it is like the Namo app brought on DTH platform. While all major DTH platforms are hosting the channel, it is not clear who owns the channel. Sources said that like Namo app, BJP also supports this.Both the Congress and the AAP have complained to the Election Commission against the NaMo TV.

On Monday, AAP wrote to the EC asking whether permission was granted to NaMo TV. The Congress also wrote and said NaMo TV, earlier called Content TV, was dedicated “solely to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP for promoting and advertising the achievements of the government.

TRAI guidelines
Sources with the I & B ministry said that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in August 2014 had proposed the barring of political parties, religious bodies, government-funded entities and affiliates from entering the broadcasting and television channel distribution sectors. A file was readied on this and is still pending with the government. It also talked about regulations on channels running through DTH platforms

Narendra Modi biopic
The Election Commission had sought comments from the makers of the biopic on PM Narendra Modi. The Opposition demanded that the release of the film be postponed till the Lok Sabha elections get over. The film is currently slated for release on April 5 and it is learnt that the poll panel has given a go ahead

Web Series on Namo
A web series on the Prime Minister is also ready for release this month. The series deals with life story of PM Narendra Modi and each episode will be of 30-45 minutes in duration

 

 

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