Ranjona Banerji: So is NamoTV a news or an advertising channel?

05 Apr,2019

By Ranjona Banerji


What explains the lack of action on NamoTV, a channel which exists only as a publicity device for Narendra Modi electoral campaign? The Election Commission seems unable or unwilling to take on the BJP and the Prime Minister. Some parts of the media are either reluctant or active participants in Modi’s re-election campaign.

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry confirms it has no licence. Any search for the owners leads to BJP supporters in Gujarat. Satellite operators like TataSky have said at different times that NamoTV is a news channel, a free service offered for now and an advertising channel. The CEO of TataSky tells NDTV that the feed comes from the BJP and that it is a “Special Services channel”. The upshot is that it is whatever the BJP and Modi want it to be.

What does one make of all this? That Modi and the BJP can do what it likes, regardless of the rules. That some parts of the mainstream media will behave like journalists and ask questions and the bulk will continue with its publicity campaign for the ruling party. As a cartoon by Manjul rightly asks, why bother with a new channel when so many “news channels” already provide the same pro-Modi service for free?

Do I sound minus some fire and brimstone? To be honest, the lack of rigour and even a basic spine from so many journalists and media houses has become so common, that who is surprised any more?

These two links from Quint and the Hindu provide context and some humour:




It’s quite enjoyable reading all the pre-poll surveys on the upcoming general elections. Three surveys by ADR, C-Voter and India Today’s Political Stock Exchange have said that the NDA is likely to lose a large number of Lok Sabha seats that they won in 2014 in Uttar Pradesh. The reason is apparently the unhappiness with the lack of performance of UP chief minister Ajay Singh Bisht, who calls himself Yogi Adityanath.


On the other hand, a CDS-Lokniti-The Hindu-TirangaTV-Dainik Bhaskar poll shows that the Balakot air strikes have done Modi good.


We shall see many more of these up and downs in non-voting polling as we get closer to the dates. It is always fun to check later how many were close to the voters’ mind and how many got taken in by people who just lied or obfuscated and so on. Remember, after that we shall merry battles on the percentage of error, sample size and all the rest of it. The more things change…


Some people may be impressed with the Balakot air strikes, but investigations emerging after the strikes raise more questions than forced patriotic fervour.

Did India shoot down a Pakistani F16 jet, as claimed? Since the government will provide no proof and it is unpatriotic to ask for proof, how does one know. Here are some hints: evidence suggests that we did not shoot down a jet.



And here’s what happened in Balakot itself. We carefully missed those sheds apparently. Or did we?



Ranjona Banerji is a senior journalist and commentator. She is also Consulting Editor, MxMIndia. The views here are personal



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