'NaMo TV under special service, no license required'

Prime Minister Naredra Modi. File photo

In a fresh twist to the NaMo TV row, the Tata Sky has said it is not a Hindi news service but “a special service,” feeds for which is coming from the BJP.

The DTH service provider also insisted that the NaMo TV does not require any license from the government as it is being offered to the viewers as “a special service.”

A controversy over the channel broke out after the NaMo TV was quietly launched on all major DTH platforms in the run up to the Lok Sabha polls with no information available in public domain about its owners.

The BJP unveiled the channel on Twitter on March 31, asking people to tune on to it to get "real time coverage" of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's election campaign and "a lot more fascinating content."

The Election Commission swung into action and sought a report from the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry about the channel after the Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) approached it, seeking action and raising many questions on the launch of the NaMo TV at a time when the model code of conduct was already in force.

Amid the row, the Tata Sky on Thursday came with a clarification after a last week's tweet by its official Twitter handle that said the NaMo TV was a Hindi news service "which provides the latest breaking news on national politics," surfaced.

“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," Tata Sky's chief executive officer Harit Nagpal told NDTV, clarifying on the issue.

Nagpal also said that NaMo TV "does not fall into any genre" and the feed is "coming from the BJP via Internet".

"Special services do not need a license," he added.

While the I&B ministry has sought time from the poll panel till April 5 to respond to its notice, sources said that the NaMo TV was not among the channels permitted by it. They said the channel was an advertising platform run by the service provider which did not require permission.

However, the uplinking and downlinking rules framed by the I&B ministry clearly stipulate that all TV channels required its prior approval to air programmes.

The ministry's rules for the DTH operators say that no licensee should carry or include in its DTH service "any television broadcast or channel" which had not been registered by the central government for being viewed within the territory of India.

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