The Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is learned to have told the Election Commission(EC) that NaMo TV does not fall under its purview since it is functioning as a special platform on the DTH operators. The ministry has apparently said that there is a legal loophole for such services and it is up to the EC to take a call on them, or ask the ministry to plug the loopholes.
As per the current laws, the ministry is learned to have told the EC that each DTH operator is allowed special services on their platforms, and NaMo TV is being run as one of them. Such platforms do not require I&B permissions as they are run by each DTH operator directly. This is why the ministry has almost no oversight over such services apart from the regulations of the Programme and Advertising Codes of the Cable TV Act and the limitations prescribed in Article 19 of the Constitution.
Such services are paid for, and are similar to advertisements.
But since the channel is being run across all major DTH platforms in the country, it has developed a national presence.
The ministry was responding after EC had sent it a notice on receiving complaints from the Congress and Aam Aadmi Party earlier this week. The channel is dedicated to showing programming about Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government’s achievements in the last five years, and live speeches of Modi from the rallies he will address across the country in the run up to the elections.
In response to another notice to from EC, Doordarshan seems to have told them that “across the Doordarshan network” there is a “good balance in terms of time given to all parties”, programming sources in the I&B Ministry said. The sources mentioned that in their response Doordarshan has said that no single party “is being given advantage”. The EC had sought a status report from Doordarshan about the airtime being provided to all the political parties to know if BJP was garnering a higher share of airtime on the public broadcaster.