Desist from extending preferential treatment to one party: EC warns DD

The Election Commission has directed public broadcaster Doordarshan to “desist” from extending any preferential or disproportionate airtime coverage in favour of any party.

The EC said in a letter to MIB secretary, “Would like you (secy) to direct the DD news channel to desist from extending any preferential or disproportionate airtime coverage in favour of any party and extend commensurate and balanced coverage of the activities of all recognised political parties…”

The commission had recently issued a show cause notice to DD news for showing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Main Bhi Chowkidar’ programme for nearly one hour after opposition parties complained that the national broadcaster was being biased. In its reply, DD news had reportedly said the BJP gets maximum time on its news slot, followed by the Congress since the Lok Sabha polls were announced.

“It was noted from the report that the airtime coverage given to various political parties is disproportionate and not balanced, which is not in accordance with the principle of maintaining neutrality and a level playing field, especially in the context of the provisions of MCC,” the EC told PTI.