Hours after banning PM Narendra Modi Biopic, Election Commission bans NaMo TV, the 24-hour channel promoting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP. However, this comes just a day before the Lok Sabha polls begin tomorrow.
The channel had mysteriously showed up on satellite TV networks late last month, drawing protests from the opposition. Further, I&B ministry had clarified that this channel did not have any approval from the respective ministry and neither they applied for the same.
The opposition which had complained to the Election Commission about the channel, welcomed the development. Sanjay Jha of the Congress said.
“I’m glad the Election Commission has taken this stand. It was crude propaganda and a monumental shame for the country that the ruling party indulged in actions like this”
The BJP, however, maintained that the channel was not in violation of the election code. Vivek Reddy of the BJP said:
“I don’t think it is a setback for the government. I don’t think the Election Commission found any illegality in the law. It was just showing the achievements of the government and the Prime Minister. It was a positive information initiative. We will be looking at alternatives.”
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has replied to Election Commission (EC) saying that ‘NaMo TV’, a channel run on all DTH platforms with the Prime Minister’s picture as the brand logo, is a “special service” broadcast channel.
It therefore required no licence or permission from the government.
According to the president of the Cable Television Association of India, Roop Sharma, there are restrictions on political content even on advertising programmes. It should be examined whether an advertising channel running partisan political content passes the test of the Cable TV Network Act.
The BJP always insisted that they had nothing to do with the channel and tagged it officially as a marketing channel. NaMo TV is being beamed to all subscribers of most DTH (Direct-To-Home) platforms since March 28, even though the Model Code of Conduct came into effect from March 10.