A day after the Election Commission barred NaMo TV from airing any political content, Delhi’s Chief Electoral Officer on Friday directed the BJP not to air any content on the platform without its certification, officials said.
The poll body had on Thursday ruled that since political content being aired on NaMo TV – a channel dedicated to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rallies and speeches – has not been pre-certified, it should be immediately removed.
The poll panel also wrote to Delhi’s Chief Electoral Officer to execute its instructions and “immediately” file a compliance report.
“As NaMo TV/Content TV is sponsored by a political party, all recorded programmes of political contents displayed on the channel/platform would be covered under the purview of the Commission’s Order… Accordingly all recorded programmes with political contents are mandatorily required to be pre-certified by the MCMC (Media Certification and Monitoring Committee) before telecasting,” the Election Commission said.
“Any political publicity materials/contents, being displayed on electronic media without the requisite certification from competent authority should be removed immediately and any political content shall only be permitted strictly in accordance with the ECI instructions in this regard,” the letter said.
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.
Earlier, the EC had asked Delhi’s CEO to confirm if the TV channel had sought its permission to air its programmes and had got it pre-certified. It noted that the Delhi CEO had confirmed there had been no pre-certification of the content.
Officials said that the Delhi Chief Electoral office had approved the logo of NaMo TV, which the BJP said is a part of NaMo app owned by it, but did not “certify” the content since it contained old speeches of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The BJP has said that NaMo TV is part of NaMo app, which is a digital property owned and run by it, according to the party’s IT Cell head Amit Malviya.
Last week, the EC had issued a notice seeking a report from the I&B Ministry on NaMo TV launched just weeks ahead of the general election, after opposition parties, including the Congress, asked the poll body to direct the ministry to suspend the channel as it violated the Model Code of Conduct.
The channel was launched on March 31, nearly two weeks after the Model Code of Conduct came into effect and ahead of the Lok Sabha polls that began on April 11.