New Delhi: The Election Commission of India (ECI) will on Friday take a final call by Friday on whether NaMo TV, which was launched on March 31, violates the Model Code of Conduct, as claimed by Opposition parties including the Congress. The decision will be based upon the documents that the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry will submit to it in response to a notice by the poll body.
“The I&B Ministry had sought time till April 5 from the EC to reply. They had said they have to obtain information from DTH platforms also,” Deputy Election Commissioner Sandeep Saxena told reporters here. Adding, he clarified that no extension will be given to the ministry beyond this deadline.
Earlier in the day, DTH service provider Tata Sky issued a clarification, claiming that the channel is ‘not a Hindi news service’ but a ‘special service’.
The DTH service provider also asserted that NaMo TV ‘does not need a government license’. The statement came over Opposition’s demand to the Election Commission of India (ECI) to stop at the ‘misuse’ of media and ensure a level-playing field during the seven-phase election. Notably, the poll body has issued a notice to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry seeking a report on the launch of the channel which exclusively features Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speeches and pro-BJP content.
“NaMo TV is not a Hindi News service. If someone in the frontline at Tata Sky has tweeted or said that it is a news service, it is a mistake,” a News18 report quoted Tata Sky CEO Harit Nagpal as saying to a news organisation.
Further, the DTH service provider in a reply to a Twitter user, as to why the channel is running on his connection when he hasn’t opted for it, said, “Hi, this channel is added to all the subscribers as a launch offer. There is no option to delete the individual channel. However, we have made a note of your feedback and shall look into it.”
Meanwhile, the BJP has maintained that it does not own the channel or the platforms that broadcast it. Its Twitter handle nonetheless had urged people to watch it for the prime minister’s election campaign.
The Lok Sabha Elections 2019 will be held in seven phases, beginning April 11. The counting of votes across the country will be held on May 23.