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Broadcasters' plea on poll ads rejected

Last updated on: March 03, 2004 17:19 IST

The Election Commission and the Union government on Wednesday rejected a plea by broadcasters to lift the ban on political advertisements on private TV channels.

A delegation of Indian Broadcasting Federation met the Chief Election Commissioner T S Krishna Murthy and wanted to know why such a ban has been imposed on private channels.

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The Commission informed the delegation that this provision already existed under the Cable TV Act, EC sources said.

"We have not put any ban, and the remedy lies somewhere else (with the information and broadcasting ministry)," the sources said.

Later, in a meeting with I&B secretary Pawan Chopra, the broadcasters were told the same thing.

"There is nothing the government can do in this matter. Such a ban is not new, it has been in force for the last several successive elections. If the law has to be changed, then there is a long, established procedure," I&B sources said.

The broadcasters who met the EC included officials of TV Today, Zee Telefilms, BBC World, Star and Discovery.

Asked whether IBF will take recourse to legal option, Zee's additional vice chairman Jawahar Goel told reporters, "We have many options". He declined to elaborate further.

Last week, the EC had announced that no political advertising would be allowed on private television channels, after I&B Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had written to the poll body seeking clear directives in the matter.

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