The channel was launched after the model code of conduct came into effect allegedly by the ruling BJP, though its ownership is still unclear.
The Election Commission of India has written to the information and broadcasting ministry, seeking a report on the sudden launch of NaMo TV, just days ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
The commission has also written separately to Doordarshan seeking to ascertain how the national broadcaster ran an hour-long live broadcast of PM Modi’s public address ‘mein bhi chowkidaar’ on March 31. The matter was raised by the Congress in its official complaint to the EC.
The Content TV/NaMo TV, launched on March 31, features PM Modi and his speeches besides strong BJP-centric content. The BJP social media handles have been tweeting asking viewers to tune in to ‘NaMo TV’ and NaMo app for the PM’s rallies and speeches.
Both the Congress and AAP have complained to the EC on the matter. Then EC has written to the I&B secretary on the matter.
Sources in the ministry confirmed they have received the EC communication and were examining the details.
The government is likely to tell the EC that NaMo TV is not a permitted channel but an advertising platform by the service provider and expenses towards it will be reflected by the party in question, BJP, in its annual expenditure and audit report to the EC, sources said.
In a complaint to the EC, AAP sought to know how permission was granted to a party to launch its own TV channel after the model code of conduct was enforced.
The party has said that this benefits the party and violates the principle of ‘a level playing field’.
The Congress alleged in its memorandum to the EC that Content TV/NaMo TV, which is available across DTH platforms and openly promotes and advertises the PM’s and the ruling party’s achievements, does not figure on the I&B ministry’s list of “permitted private satellite TV channels.”
The party has alleged that NaMo TV and its content violate Rule 7(3) of the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994, which forbid religious or political advertising,
EC’s instructions on government-funded ads and surrogate advertising besides Section 126 of the Representation of People’s Act.
The Congress has also drawn EC’s attention to Doordarshan broadcasting the 1.24-hour long ‘mein bhi chowkidaar’ show live on DD News and its YouTube channel and its promotion on social media handles of DD News