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EC pulls up Doordarshan for no balance in airtime given to political parties

The Election Commission (EC) has pulled up Doordarshan for not giving “balanced airtime coverage” to all political parties since the Lok Sabha elections were announced on March 10.

In an official notice issued to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, the Election Commission has said that the poll watchdog has taken note of the details of election coverage as provided by DG, Doordarshan News.

In the notice, EC reminds Doordarshan of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) that kicked in on March 10 and that any “misuse of official mass media during the election period for partisan coverage of political news and publicity news and publicity regarding achievement with a view of furthering the prospects of the party in power” needs to be avoided.

The Election Commission has further noted that airtime coverage given to various parties was “disproportionate and not balanced”.

The poll panel has warned the official broadcaster from not giving preferential coverage to any particular party. DD anchors and news readers have also been warned to not “exhibit any bias, prejudice or slant in their reporting”.

A few weeks ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s big announcement of India’s successful anti-satellite missile testing, Mission Shakti, came under EC’s scrutiny for violation of the Model Code of Conduct.

However, the EC gave PM Modi a clean chit based on the report of a committee of officers that found that the prime minister did not violate the provision of ‘party in power’ in the poll code.

Several opposition parties had complained to the Election Commission alleging violation of the Model Code of Conduct.

Model code of conduct is in place till the elections come to an end on May 19.


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