The Election Commission has said that NaMo TV, a channel sponsored by the Bharatiya Janata Party, cannot display “election matter” during the prescribed “silence period” ahead of the upcoming phases of the Lok Sabha elections, PTI reported on Wednesday.
The “silence period” is observed during 48 hours before conclusion of polling in a particular constituency, and, according to Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act, election matter by means of “cinematograph, television or other similar apparatus” is prohibited. Section 126 does not apply to print media.
The Election Commission directed Delhi’s chief electoral officer to ensure that the order is followed in each of the remaining six phases of the ongoing General Elections, PTI reported, quoting unidentified officials. The Delhi CEO is the nodal officer to certify political content in TV channels and similar platforms which are broadcast nationally.
NaMo TV, named after Modi, is available on all major Direct to Home platforms. It features Modi’s speeches and other pro-BJP material. The Aam Aadmi Party had complained to the Election Commission against the channel, claiming it violated the poll code. The BJP also admitted that NaMo TV is run by its information technology cell.
Last week, the Election Commission had barred the channel from telecasting recorded programmes with political content and political advertisements that are not certified by the Media Certification and Monitoring Committee.
The Election Commission, in a note addressed to the Delhi chief electoral officer, said any political publicity material or content displayed on electronic media without the certification from the committee should be removed immediately.