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Election Commission to allot time to five state assemblies for poll broadcast on DD, AIR

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NEW DELHI: All India Radio and Doordarshan, which provides a platform to political parties for their poll broadcasts before election, will also organise panel discussions or debates at the Kendras/Stations for the forthcoming elections, for the state assemblies of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram and the National Capital Territory of Delhi.

The eligible party can nominate one representative for this programme, but only the Election Commission of India will approve the names of coordinators for the panel discussion and debates in consultation with the Prasar Bharati Corporation.

The Commission, in the previous years, has worked out a schedule to provide different time slots for poll broadcasts to different parties.

Only the ‘national parties’ and ‘recognised state parties’ will be eligible to avail the facility of the broadcast and telecast time.

A base time of 45 minutes will be given to each party uniformly on the Regional Kendras  of  Doordarshan network and All India Radio network in the States/UT of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram and NCT of Delhi. 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. The facilities will be available at the Regional Kendra of the All India Radio and Doordarshan in the states and then will be relayed by other stations within the states.

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

The period of broadcast and telecast will be between the last days of filing the nominations and will end two days prior to the date of the poll. However, there will be no telecast or broadcast during the 48 hours before the polls close, 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 parties will be required to submit transcripts and recording in advance. The parties can get this recorded at their own cost in studios that meets the technical standards prescribed by Prasar Bharati, or at the Doordarshan/All India Radio Kendras.

Alternatively, they can 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.

Time Vouchers will be available in the denomination of five minutes with one voucher having time allotment from one to four minutes. The parties will be free to combine them suitably.

Introduced for the first time 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 in the Representation of People Act 1951, “Election and Other Related Laws (Amendment) Act, 2003”, and the rules notified in that, equitable time sharing for campaigning by recognised 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 that 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 Elections to the State Legislative Assemblies.

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