Right in the midst of the controversy surrounding the airing of unlicensed TV channel NaMo TV by various DTH and cable platforms, the owner of domain name namotv.com has put it up for sale. The domain is registered with godaddy.com by Parag J Shah.
"This domain is on sale. Interested in buying this domain, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org," says the message on the website.
The domain was registered on 4 October, 2012 and was updated again on 9 September, 2018. Its registration is set to expire on 4 October 2025.
Namotv.com was registered the same day the Gujarat state BJP unit partnered with 5 local Gujarati channels to launch NaMo TV on 4 October, 2012. It was promptly shut down on October 5, 2012. At that time, BJP spokesperson Bharat Pandya had said: "Modi's rivals have launched a fallacious campaign to bring him down so we felt the need for a channel that would project the truth - give voice to the BJP workers and highlight the immense work that the chief minister had done for his homeland".
NaMo TV went off-air for almost a week when the issue of funding was raised before the Election Commission. However, NaMo TV was back on air by the third week of October. At that time, EC had concluded that NaMo TV's expenses will have to be added to BJP's party expenditure.
The channel has resurfaced this week just before the 2019 General Elections with an image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on its logo. It airs his elections speeches round the clock and propagates his government's policy initiatives. All of India's major DTH platforms are airing the channel which does not have a license from the Information & Broadcasting Ministry. In fact, its name does not figure in the list of permitted private satellite TV channels on the website of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Ministry has said it is an unlicensed channel and that it is an 'advertising platform' for which the BJP is bearing the expenses.
BJP had tweeted about the channel's launch from its official Twitter handle. According to media analytics company Chrome DM, Namo TV had already achieved a reach of 37 per cent within 2 days, which is slightly lower than that of NDTV India's 43 per cent.
As far back as 2007, Gujarat BJP under Narendra Modi had launched another election-specific channel 'Vande Gujarat'. The EC had, however, cracked down on it.
This time, though, the EC has only sought an explanation after Aam Admi Party wrote to Election Commission questioning the launch of NaMo TV and whether it adheres to the Model Code of Conduct.