NaMo TV channel, available on various DTH and cable TV platforms, broadcast election rallies, speeches of PM Modi and interviews of BJP leaders.
NEW DELHI — NaMo TV channel, launched just weeks ahead of the general election, is facing sharp criticism from the Opposition as it is dedicated to coverage on Modi and called it as violative of the Model Code of Conduct.
The Election Commission (EC) has issued a notice seeking a report from the I&B Ministry on NaMo TV channel.
The notice comes after opposition parties, including the Congress, asked the poll body to direct the ministry to suspend the channel as it was violative of the Model Code of Conduct.
Here’s all you need to know about NaMo TV channel:
- NaMo TVchannel, also called ‘Content TV’, carries the picture of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as its logo.
- It was launched on March 31, nearly two weeks after the Model Code of Conduct came into effect and ahead of the Lok Sabha polls beginning April 11.
- The channel, available on various DTH and cable TV platforms, broadcast election rallies, speeches of the prime minister and interviews of BJP leaders.
- Though the ruling BJP has maintained that it does not own the channel or the platform, its official Twitter handle had urged people to watch it for the prime minister’s election campaign.
- Union minister Piyush Goyal had also tweeted about the channel number while asking viewers to watch the prime minister’s events.
- DTH service provider Tata Sky recently put out a tweet saying “NaMo TV is a Hindi News service which provides the latest breaking news on national politics.”
- It also said “the channel is added to all the subscribers as a launch offer. There is no option to delete the individual channel.”
- According to a report in The Print, NaMo TV never applied for a broadcast licence. It also does not have a compulsory security clearance.
The BJP hasn’t officially claimed ownership of NaMo TV, but the party’s official social media posts have urged people to watch Narendra Modi’s speeches on the channel.
On March 31, when the channel suddenly appeared on TV, the BJP posted on social media, “Capture the colours of elections. Watch the dance of democracy. Say NaMo again with NaMo TV. Tune in to get real-time coverage of PM Modi’s election campaign and a lot more fascinating content.”
NaMo TV was aired by Mehta, a homoeopath, through a company called New Hope Infotainment incorporated in 2012. The channel was reportedly first aired in October 2012, a couple of months before assembly elections in Gujarat.
New Hope Infotainment was registered at the same address where Mehta runs his homeopathy clinic in Vastrapur locality of Ahmedabad.
Local Congress leaders had complained about the channel to Election Commission of India (ECI) at the time. Reports of the time suggest that the channel was taken off air for a day but subsequently returned to the airwaves. The channel was aired at the time despite the model code of conduct being in force in the state.
Ministry of Information and Broadcasting does not list New Hope Infotainment as one the companies running satellite television channels in India nor does it list NaMo TV as one of the licensed satellite television channels being broadcast in India, reports Business Standard.
The ECI has sought details about NaMo TV from the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) after complaints were filed by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Congress. Both parties have alleged that the sudden appearance of a TV channel named after dedicated to showing Modi’s speeches is a violation of the model code of conduct.