Election 2019: Election Commission bars NaMo TV telecast during silence period

Published: Apr 17, 2019, 20:11 IST | IANS

The poll panel also asked Delhi's Chief Electoral Officer -- who is the nodal officer to pre-certify political content on pan-India TV channels -- to ensure that its directions are followed

Election 2019: Election Commission bars NaMo TV telecast during silence period
Election Commission

New Delhi: Cracking the whip on NaMo TV, the Election Commission (EC) on Wednesday ruled that the BJP-sponsored channel cannot telecast political programmes in poll-going constituencies during the "silence period" in any phase of the ongoing elections, sources said.

The poll panel also asked Delhi's Chief Electoral Officer -- who is the nodal officer to pre-certify political content on pan-India TV channels -- to ensure that its directions are followed.

The decision came a week after the EC ruled that since the content being aired on NaMo TV -- a channel dedicated to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's rallies and speeches -- was not certified, it should immediately stop telecast.

However, the new order means that the channel cannot air any political content during the silence period -- the 48 hours before the conclusion of voting.

"As NaMo TV/Content TV is sponsored by a political party, all recorded programmes of political content displayed on the channel/platform would be covered under the purview of the Commission's Order... Accordingly all recorded programmes with political content are mandatorily required to be pre-certified by the MCMC (Media Certification and Monitoring Committee) before telecasting," the EC earlier said.

Last week, after the Election Commission directed that all recorded programmes displayed on NaMo TV be pre-certified, the Delhi poll body has directed the BJP not to air any content on the platform without its certification, officials said.

The poll body had on Thursday said since NaMo TV was sponsored by the BJP, all recorded programmes displayed on the platform should be pre-certified by media certification and monitoring committee of Delhi and all political publicity contents displayed without pre-certification be removed immediately.

Following the EC's directive, the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Delhi wrote to the saffron party to ensure that all political content not approved be removed. "As a precautionary measure, two officials have been deployed to watch NaMo TV and monitor its content," officials said. An official said political parties usually submit audiovisual content for pre-certification, without specifying on which platform it will be aired.

The content may be aired during a rally or on the party's website, he said. After the Congress filed a complaint with the poll panel about the channel disturbing the level playing field, the EC had asked the Delhi CEO to file a report on the issue. The Delhi CEO approved the logo of NaMo TV, which the BJP said was part of the NaMo App that it owns, but did not "certify" the content as it contained old speeches of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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