NaMo TV banned after blocking PM Narendra Modi

The ECI imposed restrictions on 24-hour channel NaMo TV, applying the model code of conduct applied earlier to the film PM Narendra Modi


New Delhi: In a country where scores of politicians from Congress’s Rajiv Shukla to DMK’s Dayanidhi Maran run their respective news channels, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has banned 24-hour channel NaMo TV promoting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP under restrictions imposed by the model code of conduct, which is in vogue since the announcement of the general election schedule.

The Election Commission has applied the same principle against the channel that it had applied on the biopic based on the biographical film PM Narendra Modi. The ECI had earlier on 10 April blocked the release of the biopic. The commission said this order would apply on both the film and the channel.

What NaMo TV, BJP were doing together

Tata Sky, a DTH service provider, had recently said that NaMo TV was a Hindi news service that provided the latest breaking news on national politics. The service provider’s tweet raised questions about the central government’s claim that Namo TV was an advertisement platform.

NaMo TV was launched on 31 March. It has been continuously promoted by the ruling BJP’s Twitter handle. No less than the prime minister reported on 31 March the broadcast of a programme on the said channel related to addressing chowkidars (watchmen/guards) of the country.

The Congress is celebrating the ban. The party’s spokesman Randeep S Surjewala tweeted, following the ECI decision, “Election Commission’s decision staying ‘Modi Biopic’ is an affirmation that none less than PM of India, Shri Modi was complicit in violating the Model Code of Conduct. Since EC’s order also applies to ‘NaMo TV’ it is now upto (sic) the EC to ensure that it is also shut down.”

Similar to ban on PM Narendra Modi

Earlier today, the ECI said that, until the Lok Sabha election was over, the film would remain unreleased. The Supreme Court had, before that, dismissed a petition seeking a ban on the release of the biopic. The court had said that the appropriate institution to address the petitioner’s concern was the ECI because it was a constitutional body.

The crew of the movie PM Narendra Modi had on Tuesday thanked the Supreme Court for rejecting the petition demanding a ban on the release of the film. The ECI should decide whether a particular political party benefits from the film in the election season. Actor Vivek Oberoi, who plays PM Modi in the film, praised the stand of the Supreme Court.

The model code of conduct came into effect with the announcement of the election schedule on 10 March. The code emphasises providing all parties and candidates a level playing ground.

There is an opinion in the ECI that the Central Board of Film Certification is the competent authority to decide on the matter. The film was scheduled to be released on 5 April, a week before the first phase of voting.