NaMo TV can air PM Modi’s live speeches: Election Commission

Candidates or seats that are going to electionss cannot be mentioned.

New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-sponsored NaMo TV can air live speeches of the PM during the “election silence period” as long as there is no reference to the candidate or constituency going to poll in that particular phase, the Election Commission has stated.

On a tweet by Congress president Rahul Gandhi seeking votes for his party on the proposed ‘NYAY’ scheme, the officer said it does not violate election norms as no candidate or constituency that went to polls Thursday was named. A complaint was lodged with the poll panel, urging it to take down the tweet. “Since live speeches are not pre-certified election (campaign) material, they can be aired (by NaMo TV) during the silence period as long as there is no reference to candidate or constituency,” deputy election commissioner Sandeep Saxena said.

The EC has already made it clear that according to electoral laws, the platform cannot display “election matter” during the silence period in a particular phase of the poll. The poll panel has asked the chief electoral officer (CEO) of Delhi to ensure that its directions are followed in each of the remaining five phases of the ongoing elections.

The directions were issued to the Delhi CEO as he is the nodal officer to pre-certify political content in channels and platforms that are beamed nationally. The CEO has also been provided with a committee specifically for the purpose, a source said.

Section 126 of the Re-presentation of the People Act “prohibits” display of any “election matter” by means of “cinematogr-aph, television or other si-milar apparatus”, 48 hours before the hour fixed for conclusion of poll in a particular constituency. This phase is called the “silence period” as it allows a voter to make up his or her mind on whom to vote without being influenced by political campaigning. Section 126 is not applicable on the print media. The direction, sources sa-id, was issued to bring clarity on the applicability of “silence period” on NaMo TV.

On Thursday last week, the EC had concluded that since NaMo TV is sponsored by the BJP, all recorded programmes displayed on the platform should be pre-certified by media certification and monitoring committee of Delhi and all publicity contents being displayed without pre-certification should be removed

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