Namo Tv: The Govt is Breaking All the Rules? What’s The Controversy?

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Does NaMo TV Have a Licence? What’s the Purpose of NaMo TV? Advertising? Govt is Breaking All the Rules?
Does NaMo TV Have a Licence? What’s the Purpose of NaMo TV? Advertising? Govt is Breaking All the Rules?

Namo Tv was launched quietly on March 31. For most parties, NaMo TV is a propaganda tool for Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of the Lok Sabha election and is in violation of the model code of conduct. They have brought this to the notice of the Election Commission, which has sought an explanation from the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, responsible for granting licences to content providers. The Ministry has been given time till Friday to respond. The Commission, it is learnt, is likely to take a decision on April 9 when it meets.

Tata Sky users received it as a free channel, with no option to delete it. Facing questions on social media, the DTH provider said the channel cannot be deleted by users as it is free during the launch offer.

Does NaMo TV Have a Licence?

No, it doesn’t. NaMo TV doesn’t feature on the list of Permitted Private Satellite TV Channels, as declared by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry on 31 March 2019.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a news, entertainment, sports or home-shopping channel, the I&B’s list of satellite channels has all channels which are allowed to broadcast through satellite.
Since NaMo TV is not on the I&B Ministry’s list of approved channels, there is no information about who owns it, whether the owners have security clearance or are adhering to rules of foreign investment for TV channels.

Since the controversy broke out, Tata Sky tweeted that “NaMo TV is a Hindi news service.” But later, the Tata Sky CEO speaking to NDTV claimed NaMo TV is not a news channel, but a special services channel.

The earlier avatar of Namo TV was launched in 2012 during the state elections in Gujarat. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was then the CM of Gujarat, was keen to have a platform where he could elaborately convey to the people of Gujarat about his various initiatives, remembers, Mayank Jain, who was the content head of Namo TV in 2012. “Narendra Modi used to insist his ministers and senior bureaucrats to do extensive interviews on the various initiatives of his government. He had also done a film on the food safety measures,” says Jain.

The Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has registered a complaint with the Election Commission, demanding the polling body to stop the broadcast of NaMo TV through cable and DTH services. The polling body has sought a response from the I&B Ministry.

As the identity of the channel and the owner remains mysterious, the channel’s presence raises questions not only about a ruling party’s exertions of power in the media space but also the possibility of violating the model code of conduct governing political parties during elections, media experts have pointed out.

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