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EC okays DD News relaunch in November

NEW DELHI: The Election Commission (EC) has decided that the relaunch of Doordarshan's news channel early November does not breach the model poll conduct and would not amount to undue advantage to the government in the run up to the state assembly elections.

According to sources in the EC, the issue of DD News was 

discussed in detail, with top officials from Prasar Bharati. The conclusion was that its relaunch early November was okay as per the model code of conduct that the Commission has laid down for political parties during election time.

A formal letter from the EC to Prasar Bharati, giving the formal go-ahead, is expected later in the evening.

At a meeting today in the forenoon, the election commissioner J M Lyngdoh and his deputy are understood to have given a patient hearing to Prasar Bharati CEO K S Sarma, who was defending the relaunch of the news channel on the ground that the date had been decided much early.

However, the EC has directed Prasar Bharati, which oversees the functioning of DD and All India Radio (AIR), to be cautious and that the news channel's relaunch should not be done by a VVIP or a politician or a minister in the present government.

Though information and broadcasting minister Ravi Shankar Prasad would have been an ideal candidate to flag off DD News' second inning, slated to start on 1 November, somebody else would have to do the honours now.

In all probability, it would be the chairman of Prasar Bharati, veteran journalist M V Kamath, who would announce the relaunch of DD News on 31 October.

The relaunch of the channel had been brought to EC's notice by a clutch of private producers of DD Metro, who had alleged that by converting the DD Metro channel into a news channel, the government was attempting to take undue advantage before the state election to be held between November and December.

After this petition, several other political parties joined the issue, including the Congress Party, alleging that DD News relaunch should be deferred till the whole assembly election process was over.

Also Read:

A question mark on DD News relaunch early-November

DD News set for 3 November launch after cabinet okay

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