The Election Commission on Thursday asked the Chief Electoral Officer of Delhi to bar the NaMo TV from airing any political content or publicity material which were not cleared by the Media Management and Monitoring Committee (MCMC) set up by him in the National ca[pital territory.
The EC acted after the Chief Electoral Officer of Delhi, Ranbir Singh, confirmed that the content being aired on the NaMo TV has not been pre-certified by the MCMC constituted by his office.
The commission wrote to the CEO Delhi underlining that as long as the Lok Sabha elections were not over and the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) was in force, all political advertisements and all recorded programmes with political contents must be pre-certified by the MCMC before being telecast.
The MCC came into force on March 10 when the EC declared the schedule of five-phase polling for the elections to the Lok Sabha as well as state assemblies of Arunachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim and Odisha. The first phase polling took place on Thursday and the last phase would be held on May 19, while the counting of votes would begin early on May 23.
“Further, any political publicity materials/contents, being displayed on electronic media without the requisite pre-certification from competent authority (MCMC in this case) should be removed immediately and any political content shall only be permitted strictly in accordance with the ECI instructions in this regard,” the EC said in a communique to Singh.
The commission directed CEO Delhi to ensure implementation of its instructions and send a compliance report immediately.
The NaMo TV had a quiet launch on March 31.
It has since been airing mostly Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speeches in the election rallies as well as other contents that are in favour of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
The opposition Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) wrote to the EC raising the question if a TV channel could be launched exclusively to publicize Prime Minister’s political speeches in election rallies at a time when the MCC was in force. The Congress too questioned the launch of the NaMo TV just ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
The Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting conveyed the EC that the NaMo TV is an advertisement platform made available by the Direct-to-Home broadcast service providers.
The poll-panel stated that it was told that the NaMo TV / Content TV was a platform DTH operator offered to the Bharatiya Janata Party in exchange of payment.
The EC had earlier asked CEO Delhi to check if the content aired on the NaMo TV was pre-certified by the MCMC. The CEO Delhi replied to the EC that while the logo of the NaMo TV had been cleared by it, the content aired on the TV had not been pre-certified by its MCMC.―Deccan Herald