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NaMo TV: Election Commission seeks report on launch of channel, I&B ministry says it's an ad platform and not licensed

After the Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) filed complaints against 24-hour channel NaMo TV, the Election Commission wrote to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting seeking a report on its sudden launch ahead of the Lok Sabha election.

The poll panel also wrote to Doordarshan over the 24-hour-long broadcast of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Main Bhi Chowkidar' event on 31 March.

 NaMo TV: Election Commission seeks report on launch of channel, I&B ministry says its an ad platform and not licensed

Photo credit: Twitter/@narendramodi

The Congress had earlier raised the matter in its official complaint to the Election Commission. In its complaint, the party had highlighted how the channel was solely dedicated to Modi and the BJP for "promoting and advertising achievements of the government... broadcasting interviews of prominent BJP leaders".

In its reply, the information and broadcasting ministry told the polling watchdog that NaMo TV is not a licensed channel but a direct-to-home (DTH) advertisement platform, reported India Today.

The channel was launched on all DTH platforms on 31 March after the Model Code of Conduct came into effect. It is a televised version of the NaMo app, devoted to covering the prime minister's speeches and rallies.

Both Modi and BJP's official Twitter account have promoted NaMo TV, yet there is still no clarity on who owns it. The channel, which has Modi's photo as its logo, also runs a live stream of compilations of his speeches.

According to The Economic Times, the government is "likely" to tell the Election Commission that the BJP will include expenses towards the channel in its annual expenditure and audit report to the poll panel.

On Monday, AAP had asked the Election Commission whether the BJP had sought its approval to launch the channel.

"Can permission be granted to a party to have its own TV channel even after the Model Code of Conduct is enforced? If no permission was given by the ECI, then what action has been taken?" AAP said in its letter to the poll panel.

It also asked whether the BJP had approached the Media Certification Committee, established to certify the content and cost of a telecast. It said the Supreme Court, in various cases, had held that there had to be a level-playing field for all political parties, and the Election Commission was entrusted with the duty to maintain it.

Your guide to the latest election news, analysis, commentary, live updates and schedule for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on firstpost.com/elections. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram or like our Facebook page for updates from all 543 constituencies for the upcoming general elections.

Updated Date: Apr 03, 2019 14:53:49 IST