The Election Commission of India has asked the Delhi Chief Electoral Officer to begin vetting and certifying the content broadcasted on the NaMo TV channel by the Media Certification and Monitoring Committee. And this happened just a day ahead of the scheduled general elections 2019.
According to a media report, government sources revealed that the EC will ask the expenditure incurred towards BJP’s ‘purported advertising portal’ (NaMo TV) and the same will be reflected in BJP’s annual audit and expenditure report. Apart from the expenses, the EC may also raise questions of the legality of such channels.
NaMo TV was launched on March 31 and features Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speeches and rallies as well as strong BJP-centric content. BJP’s social media team has asked its followers on Twitter via a tweet to tune into the NaMo TV channel as well as NaMo app to view Modi’s rallies and speeches.
Earlier this month, both the AAP and Congress have complained to the Election Commission regarding the legality of NaMo TV channel in line with the model code of conduct. Soon after the complaint, EC began its investigation into the alleged violation. Both the parties alleged that the BJP-focused channel violates Rule 7(3) of the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994.
The Cable Television Network Rules, 1994 forbids any channel from religious or political advertising. The parties also alleged that NaMo TV violates the Election Commission’s instruction on government-funded ads as well as surrogate advertising under Section 126 of the Representation of the People’s Act.
Congress also complained about Doordarshan broadcasting BJP’s 1.24 hour long ‘Mein Bhi Chowkidaar’ show live on the DD News as well as its YoutTube channel and other social media handles. The Election Commission has reportedly ticked off Doordarshan for giving excessive coverage to the party in power in response to the complaint. EC has also written to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry on the issue.