Launched under the BJP’s supervision and carrying Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s initials, the new NaMo Gujarat television channel got the Election Commission’s nod on Friday, but with some riders, in the election-bound State where the model code of conduct has been in force.
The new TV channel was launched a day after the announcement of the Assembly election schedule in the state, only to be shut within a day on October 5, pending clearances.
The poll panel has now cleared the channel launch but has put certain conditions for monitoring political advertisements and possible paid news on the channel during the election period, highly placed sources in the Commission told PTI.
The poll body gave its nod after the District Electoral Officer of Ahmedabad, where the channel is headquartered, had sought the EC’s permission before granting licence to it.
Imposing certain conditions on the channel, the Commission said all political advertisements relayed during election period will have to be first cleared by Media Certification and Monitoring Committee (MCMC) before telecast. It also asked the DEO to ensure that all relevant provisions of the Model Code of Conduct are strictly adhered to by the channel.
Permitting reporting of campaigns in a “newsworthy” manner, the EC said that “when in the garb of news, the campaign becomes publicity or advertisement for a candidate, it is to be examined by the Committee as case of suspected paid news.”
For the NaMo Gujarat channel, the state BJP unit has partnered with five local Gujarati satellite channels in the state to broadcast its contents, highlighting Mr. Modi’s development initiatives and will be aired by all cable networks, direct-to-home (DTH) and digital TV viewers.
The project has been launched under supervision of state Industries Minister Saurabh Patel and BJP’s Parindu Bhagat, both close aides of the Chief Minister.
NaMo is named after Narendra Modi’s initials and also means “bowing down” in Gujarati.