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NaMo TV Cannot Air Any Political Content Without Certification, Rules Election Commission

In its order, the poll panel said there was emergent need for intervention to stop political content that disturbs the level playing field for the elections.


Updated:April 11, 2019, 11:12 PM IST
NaMo TV Cannot Air Any Political Content Without Certification, Rules Election Commission
File photo of the Election Commission office.

New Delhi: The Election Commission on Thursday informed the chief electoral officer of Delhi that all content on NaMo TV, a television channel that mysteriously appeared on private DTH networks two weeks back, needs to be cleared by the poll panel's Media Certification and Monitoring Committee before being aired.

The 24-hour channel has been promoting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

"It has been confirmed by you that there has not been any pre-certification of the content being displayed on NaMo TV/Content TV, by the MCMC Committee in your office," the poll panel wrote to the Delhi CEO in a letter on Thursday night.

The letter added that "any political publicity content, being displayed on electronic media without requisite certification from competent authority should be removed immediately and any political content shall only be permitted strictly in accordance with EC instructions in this regard".

The order states that all recorded programmes of political contents displayed on the channel/platform will be covered under an earlier directive as "NaMo TV/Content TV is sponsored by a political party". As per the earlier directive, all political advertisements and all recorded programmes with political content are compulsorily required to be pre-certified by the media monitoring committee before telecast.

The EC asked the Delhi CEO to ensure that all political content, which has been aired without previous certification, be immediately removed. The poll panel has also asked the officer for a compliance report on an urgent basis.

The poll panel on Wednesday had banned the release of PM Modi's biopic till election period, saying any such film that subserves the purpose of any political entity or individual should not be displayed in the electronic media. While the EC initially said that the order would impact NaMo TV as well, officials later said it had been "misinterpreted" and had no co-relation with the channel.

Earlier, the EC had asked the Delhi CEO's office to inform whether the political contents on the channel had been cleared by the certification committee anytime.

The BJP has said that NaMo TV is part of the NaMo app, which is a digital property owned and run by it, according to the party's IT Cell head Amit Malviya. In its reply to the EC, the CEO office said they had received a request from the BJP to pre-certify the content.

Last week, the EC had issued a notice to the Information and Broadcast Ministry and sought a report on the channel that was launched just weeks ahead of the general election. The notice came after opposition parties, including the Congress, asked the poll body to direct the ministry to suspend the channel in violation of the Model Code of Conduct.

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