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NaMO TV launch ahead of polls sparks controversy

April 5, 2019

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has asked for a report on NaMo TV from the Information and Broadcasting Ministry after the Opposition alleged that the ruling party has no business starting a channel to push its election campaign as this was a serious violation of the model code of conduct in place for the April-May national election.

The 24-hour channel borrows PM Modi's initials and his image for its logo and is available on DTH and cable TV platforms. The channel has been airing his speeches and interviews of BJP leaders. It is unclear who the owner of the channel is and the funder.

Soon after its launch, PM Modi tweeted urging people to watch his interaction with chowkidars live on NaMoTV. He said, "The day we were most looking forward to is here! At 5 PM, lakhs of Chowkidars from different parts of India will interact in the historic #MainBhiChowkidar programme. This is an interaction you must not miss. Watch it live on the NaMoApp or NaMo TV."

Following the tweet there was outrage among political parties and the media, following which DTH service provider Tata Sky issued a clarification regarding its earlier tweet saying NaMo TV is a "Hindi news service which provides the latest breaking news on national politics"

Later it clarified to a new channel that NaMo TV is not a Hindi News service.

NaMo TV is not a Hindi News service. If someone in the frontline at Tata Sky has tweeted or said that it is a news service, it is a mistake. - Harit Nagpal, Tata Sky CEO

Tata Sky also said that the feed for NaMo TV coming from the BJP via Internet and that special services do not need a license.

NaMoTv was launched on 31 March and has been promoted by the BJP and other related accounts. The Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) have complained to the ECI against the channel.

The model code of conduct came into effect on 10 March after the EC announced a seven-phase elections from 11 April to 19 May.

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