At the time of General Elections to the Lok Sabha in 1998, a new initiative for State funding of recognized political parties by free use of the State owned Television and Radio was introduced which was subsequently extended in all the General Elections to the State Assemblies and General Elections.
With the amendments to the Representation of the People Act, 1951 on “Election and Other Related Laws (Amendment) Act, 2003”, equitable time sharing for campaigning by recognized political parties on electronic media now has statutory basis. Under section 39A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, the Central Government has notified all such broadcasting media which are owned or controlled or financed wholly or substantially by the Central Government as the electronic media for this purposes and the scheme of equitable time sharing on electronic media will be managed by Prasar Bharati Corporation to the ensuing General Election to the State Legislative Assemblies of Haryana & Maharashtra 2014. The facilities of use of broadcast time and telecast time will be available only to ‘National Parties’ and ‘Recognized State Parties’ in respect of Haryana & Maharashtra.
Important features of the scheme are:
1. The facilities will be available from the Regional Kendra of the All India Radio and Doordarshan and in the headquarters of Haryana & Maharashtra and relayed by other stations within Haryana & Maharashtra.
Time allotted for Telecast/Broadcast:
2. A base time of 45 minutes will be given to each National Party and Recognized State Party (recognized in respect of Haryana & Maharashtra) uniformly on the Regional Kendras of Doordarshan network and All India Radio network in the States of Haryana & Maharashtra.
3. 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 States of Haryana & Maharashtra.
Date of Telecasts/Broadcasts
5. The period of broadcast and telecast will be between the last date of filing the nominations and two days before the date of poll in the respective States of Haryana & Maharashtra .
6. The Prasar Bharati Corporation 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.
Submission of Transcripts in advance
7. 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, which meet the technical standards prescribed by the Prasar Bharati Corporation or at the Doordarshan/All India Radio Kendra. They can, in the 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.
Panel Discussions and Debate
8. In addition to the broadcast by parties, the Prasar Bharati Corporation will organise a maximum of two panel discussions and/or debates on the Kendra/Station of Doordarshan/All India Radio. Each eligible party can nominate one representative to such a programme.
9. The Election Commission of India will approve the names of coordinators for such panel discussions and debates in consultation with the Prasar Bharati Corporation.
Guidelines for observance in Telecasts/Broadcasts
10. The telecasts/broadcasts on Doordarshan/AIR will not permit:
(a) criticism of other countries;
(b) attack on religions or communities;
(c) anything obscene or defamatory;
(d) incitement of violence;
(e) anything amounting to contempt of court;
(f) aspersion against the integrity of the President and Judiciary;
(g) anything affecting the unity, sovereignty and integrity of the Nation;
(h) any criticism by name of any person.
Time Vouchers for Parties
11. Time Vouchers will be available in the denomination of 5 minutes and 1 minutes (upto a maximum of 4 wherever required) 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.