Delhi: The Election Commission (EC) has barred political
parties from advertising on television. In a communication
to the I&B ministry, the EC said that it has "decided
that rule 7(3) of the cable TV networks rules, 1994
prescribed under Section 6 (advertisement code) of the
cable TV networks (regulation) Act, 1995 which prohibits
advertisements on cable TV networks of political nature
or towards any political end should continue to be on
the statute book."
to the EC's order the information and broadcasting minister
Ravi Shankar Prasad said 'India Shining' was not a political
or election-related ad. He added that the ruling party
would adhere to the EC directive of not airing political
/election-related ads. public broadcaster Doordarshan
would also comply with the order, he said. However,
monitoring the ads would be a tricky issue, sources
in the government said.
government official clarified that a political ad is
one which says 'vote for such and such party' Also,
as 'India Shining' is a government-backed initiative,
it would be withdrawn once moral code of conduct is
Broadcasters appear to be upset with the EC directive,
and are planning to take up the issue through the Indian
Broadcasting Foundation (IBF). On the condition of anonymity,
a broadcaster said, "we were expecting a windfall."
According to an IBF official, the Foundation is writing
to the EC saying that there shouldn't be any discrimination
between print and electronic media.
Agencies Association of India (AAAI) president Sam Balsara
said, "it's an unfair step as far as the Opposition
is concerned, because it allows the ruling party to
use television to reach
out to 80 million
homes in the guise of the government's achievements
and denies the other parties to have their say to the
same 80 million homes."