Regulators

Schedules fixed for broadcasts in five poll-bound states

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NEW DELHI: All India Radio and Doordarshan, which provide a platform for political parties to make poll broadcasts before every election, will also organise a maximum of two panel discussions and/or debates on the Kendras/Stations for the forthcoming elections to the state assemblies in Goa, Punjab, Manipur, Uttarakhand & Uttar Pradesh.

Each eligible party can nominate one representative to such a programme, but the Election Commission of India will approve the names of coordinators for such panel discussions and debates in consultation with the Prasar Bharati Corporation.

The Commission has, as in previous years, worked out a schedule for the time to be given for poll broadcasts to different parties. The facilities of use of broadcast time and telecast time will be available only to National Parties and Recognized State Parties in the states where the polls are scheduled.

The facilities will be available from the Regional Kendra of the All India Radio and Doordarshan and in the headquarters in the relevant states and relayed by other stations within the respective States.

A base time of 45 minutes will be given to each National Party uniformly on the Regional Kendra of Doordarshan network and All India Radio network in the respective states.

The additional time to be allotted to the parties has been decided on the basis of the poll performance of the parties in the last assembly election from the respective above mentioned States/UTs.

In a single session of broadcast, no party will be allocated more than 15 minutes.

The period of broadcast and telecast will be between the last date of filing the nominations and will end two days before the date of poll in the respective states.

However, there will be no telecast or broadcast during the 48 hours preceding the close of polls as per specific provisions of the Representation of People Act, 1951. Prasar Bharati in consultation with the Commission will decide the actual date and time for broadcast and telecast. This will be subject to the broad technical constraints governing the actual time of transmission available with the Doordarshan and All India Radio.

The guidelines prescribed by the Commission for telecast and broadcast will be strictly followed. The telecasts/broadcasts on Doordarshan/AIR will not permit criticism of other countries; attack on religions or communities; anything obscene or defamatory; incitement of violence; anything amounting to contempt of court; aspersion against the integrity of the President and Judiciary; anything affecting the unity, socereignty and integrity of the Nation; or any criticism by name of any person.

The parties will be required to submit transcripts and recording in advance. The parties can get this recorded at their own cost in studios, which meet the technical standards prescribed by Prasar Bharati or at the Doordarshan/All India Radio Kendras. They can, as an alternative, have these recorded in the studios of Doordarshan and All India Radio by advance requests. In such cases, the recordings may be done at the State Capital and at timings indicated by Doordarshan/All India Radio in advance.

Time Vouchers will be available in the denomination of 5 minutes with one voucher having time allotment from one to four minutes and the parties will be free to combine them suitably. The allotment of time to different political parties is given in a statement enclosed herewith.

Introduced for the Lok Sabha elections in 1998, the scheme of free broadcasts was extended by the Commission to the State Assemblies held after 1998 and General Elections to the Lok Sabha in 1999, 2004 and 2009.

With the amendments to the Representation of People Act 1951 through "Election and Other Related Laws (Amendment) Act, 2003" and the rules notified thereunder, equitable time sharing for campaigning by recognized political parties on electronic media now has statutory basis.

In exercise of the powers conferred by clause (a) of the Explanation below section 39A of the Representation of People Act, 1951, the Central Government has notified all such broadcasting media which are owned or controlled or financed wholly or substantially by funds provided to them by the Central Government as the electronic media for the purposes of that section. Therefore, the Commission has decided to extend the said scheme of equitable time sharing on electronic media through Prasar Bharati Corporation to the ensuing General Election to the five State Legislative Assemblies.

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