- NaMo TV is a 24-hour channel that borrows PM's name, image for its logo
- The channel exclusively features PM Modi's speeches and pro-BJP content
- It's an "advertising platform", doesn't need approval: Government sources
Here are the top 10 developments in this story:
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, asked about NaMo TV, told NDTV: "Let the appropriate authorities answer. Let the Information and Broadcasting and EC (Election Commission) comment on it. You and I should not get into it."
The broadcast ministry, which is preparing its reply, says NaMo TV "is not a normal channel" and does not figure in the official list of approved channels of the ministry. It is not on the list of permitted private satellite TV channels on ministry's website.
"It is a kind of advertising platform launched by the service provider, currently being run on some DTH platforms," sources said on Wednesday. The sources said no approval is required to run such platforms.
Amid complaints that the ruling BJP is using NaMo TV for poll propaganda, the Election Commission has written to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry on the channel's launch on March 31 (Sunday), well after the model code came into force.
NaMo TV, a 24-hour channel that borrows the PM's name and his image for its logo, has been pushed by the BJP's official Twitter handles as well as those linked to the party. These accounts have been tweeting asking viewers to tune in to 'NaMo TV' and the NaMo app for the PM's rallies and speeches.
All major DTH platforms are hosting the channel. But it is not clear who owns the channel or how it is funded.
Both the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) have complained to the Election Commission against the channel.
On Monday, AAP wrote to the election body asking whether permission was granted to NaMo TV. "Can permission be granted to a party to have their own TV channel even after the model code of conduct is enforced? If no permission was sought, then what action has been taken," AAP's legal cell member Mohammed Irshad said in the letter. AAP has accused the BJP of launching NaMo TV and called it a move that deprives all other parties of a "level-playing field".
The Congress also wrote to the election body and said NaMo TV, earlier called Content TV, was dedicated "solely to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP for promoting and advertising the achievements of the government, personal achievements of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, political rallies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and broadcasting interviews of prominent BJP leaders".
The model code of conduct came into effect on March 10 after the commission announced seven-phase elections from April 11 to May 19. Counting of votes will take place on May 23.