New Delhi: Ahead of the elections, a news channel christened NaMo TV has quietly made its way into our living rooms. The channel exclusively features speeches by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and pro-BJP content and went on air on March 31.
The channel’s launch was announced by the Prime Minister himself on this Twitter handle hours before his interaction with chowkidars (watchmen) from across the country.
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. pic.twitter.com/XXKkLUuE7X
— Chowkidar Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 31, 2019
Within a day of its launch, leading DTH service providers such as TataSky, Airtel TV, Dish TV have started airing it. It has landed on the subscriber’s bouquet of channels by default and cannot be removed, said TataSky, one of the leading service providers in a Tweet, maintaining that it is a launch offer.
Hi, this channel is added to all the subscribers as a launch offer. There is no option to delete the individual channel. However, we have made a note of your feedback and shall look into it.
— Tata Sky (@TataSky) April 4, 2019
The ownership of the channel is shrouded in mystery.
According to a report in The Print, neither has NaMo TV obtained a broadcast licence nor does it have the mandatory security clearance. This makes the channel an illegal enterprise, under the broadcast laws of the country and is a first of its kind too.
But some other reports said that without the I&B licence, DTH service providers cannot broadcast it.
“It should have the licence to operate, else it won’t be on satellite platforms. Since it’s backed by the government, it must have got licences overnight,” Business Today quoted a senior media expert, who believes NaMo TV is the BJP’s publicity mouthpiece and would go off air as soon as elections are over,as saying.
As per a recent report by media analytics company Chrome DM, Namo TV clocked a reach of 37 per cent in a span of just two days. Its reach is slightly lower than that of NDTV India, which is at 43 per cent.
But neither the ruling party nor the I&B Ministry has come clean on airing of the channel.
According to some news outlets, the I&B ministry will submit a report to the Election Commission. The Opposition has demanded the government’s response, describing it as blatant violation of the model code of conduct.