The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has instructed public broadcaster Prasar Bharati to ensure that the Election Commission's directive to "desist" from extending any preferential or disproportionate airtime coverage in favour of any party is adhered to in letter and spirit. I&B Secretary Amit Khare, in a letter to Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi Shekhar Vempati, instructed that the coverage by Doordarshan and All India Radio abides by the EC directive and asked him to put in place a mechanism for adherence to the Model Code of Conduct, sources said.
In a strongly-worded letter to the secretary of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, the EC said, "Would like you (secretary) 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 has got maximum time on its news slot, followed by the Congress, since the Lok Sabha polls were announced.
(With inputs from agencies.)