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Political advts on TV, radio banned
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 27
The Election Commission has banned political advertisements on television channels and FM radio stations, even as the government expressed its inability to monitor such violations.

Sources in the EC said the Information and Broadcasting Ministry had been asked to strictly implement the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, which prohibits political and religious advertisement.

The Rule 7 (3) of the Act states that “advertisements must not be directed towards any religious or political end.”

“We have only asked the ministry to implement the rules and have not issued any fresh directive,” the sources said.

The Commission had expressed its view on the issue as the I&B Ministry had approached the EC, seeking guidelines on whether advertisements by political parties were allowed on television channels and radio.

Incidentally, the licence agreements reached between the government and the private FM radio players also does not allow such advertisements to be aired.

However, the I&B Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said there were more than 100 channels besides local ones throughout the country and the government does not have the mechanism to scan through all these for a proper monitoring.

Stating the ministry had conveyed its inability on monitoring the channels, Mr Prasad said “we would welcome if the EC evolves any alternative to ensure smooth implementation of the ban”.

Before the Assembly polls last year, the Commission had lifted the ban on electronic advertisements that it had imposed in 1998 to prevent excessive spending by candidates whose campaign budget is limited.

The Commission had lifted the ban after the Andhra Pradesh High Court and Tamil Nadu High Court made observations that if print advertisements could be permitted, it was unfair to stop electronic advertisements.

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