EC panel issues notice over ad on Modi biopic

Terms it a ‘surrogate advertisement’

Updated - March 23, 2019 12:52 am IST

Published - March 22, 2019 10:40 pm IST - New Delhi

A poster of the film starring Vivek Oberoi as Narendra Modi

A poster of the film starring Vivek Oberoi as Narendra Modi

A full-page advertisement for the trailer of Narendra Modi biopic in two Hindi newspapers has invited the ire of the Media Certification and Monitoring Committee (MCMC), set up by the Election Commission, in East Delhi.

Terming it ‘a surrogate advertisement with political overtures’, the committee issued a show-cause notice to the film’s producers, music company T-Series, YouTube channel running the trailer and the newspaper publishers on Wednesday.

Model code

Citing chapter 15, para 2 of the model code of conduct, the notice states that expenditure on such advertisements which relate to the prospect of election of a particular candidate has to be added to the account of the election expense of the candidate. Additionally, according to Section 171H of the Indian Penal Code, expenditure on advertisements for promoting a candidate without authority from the candidate is prohibited. The notice, which has been served to the production company Legend Global Studio, the YouTube channel on which the trailer is running, T-series, and the publishers Dainik Bhaskar and Dainik Jagran , has asked for certification, if any, obtained from the MCMC. If they fail to produce the certification by March 25, action in accordance with electoral laws and rules will be initiated, said the notice.

Varun Arora, a T-series executive, said the ad was not issued by the company. He said T-series was only the music partner and is hosting the trailer on its channel. Legend Global Studio was unreachable for comment.

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