Election Commissions says prior approval must for content running on NaMo TV
The Election Commission (EC) of India has said that ‘NaMo TV’ Channel cannot air any political content without the prior approval of its Media Certification and Monitoring Committee (MCMC).
The EC also observed that any political publicity content running on air, without the prior approval from MCMC should immediately be removed from Namo TV.
For the records, in a first, NaMo TV Channel has been launched on March 31, 2019 which airs speeches and content related to Prime Minister of India – Narendra Modi and Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP). The channel is available across all Direct-To-Home (DTH) platforms.
Besides, BJP is heavily promoting Namo TV through its social media handles. Namo TV Mobile App is also available for users. The BJP has also launched the website of Namo TV – https://namotv.in/
It is to be noted that General Elections have already started in India from April 11, 2019. Keeping the same in mind, the NaMo TV is a tool to make the most of the ongoing elections.
On April 3, 2019, the EC had sought a report from Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry on NaMo TV. The report was sought after Indian National Congress (INC) and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had filed a complaint against NaMo TV. The I&B Ministry, in its report to EC said that NaMo TV is an advertising portal of DTH service providers.
The EC later told the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Delhi, “All recorded programmes of political contents displayed on the channel/platform will be mandatorily required to be pre-certified by the MCMC before telecasting / displaying.”
The commission noted that the Delhi CEO had confirmed that “there has not been any precertification of the content being displayed on NaMo TV/Content TV by the MCMC”.
For the records, in 2004, the Supreme Court of India had observed, “Every registered national and state political party and every contesting candidate proposing to issue advertisement on television channel and/or cable network will have to apply to the Election Commission/designated officer (as designated by the Election Commission) not later than three days prior to the date of the proposed commencement of the telecast of such advertisement.”
The BJP has assured the Delhi Chief Electoral Office that only it will air content after seeking the required approvals.
Now, with NaMo TV falling under the pre-certification regime, the expenses on running the channel will be added to the BJP’s annual expenditure.