At the time of General Election to Lok Sabha, in February, 1998 the Election Commission of India had taken up a new initiative for state funding of recognized political parties, through free use of state owned Television and Radio under directions of the Commission. The Commission in comprehensive consultation with the Prasar Bharti Corporation, Doordarshan and All India Radio gave the operational parameters of the scheme
Rules on Allocation of Broadcast Time
- With the amendment to the Representation of the People Act 1951, equitable time-sharing for campaigning by recognized political parties on electronic media now has statutory basis.
- The Central Government has notified all such broadcasting media which are owned or controlled or financed wholly or substantially by funds provided to them by the Central Government as the electronic media for the purpose of that section.
- The facility of use of Doordarshan (DD) and All Indian Radio (AIR) shall be available only to those Parties which are at present recognized as such National or State Parties, under the provision of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968.
- This facility will not be available to registered-unrecognised political parties or any independent candidates.
- The telecasts/ broadcasts shall span between the last date of nominations for the first phase and two days prior to the last of the dates of poll anywhere in India in case of Parliamentary elections.
- The Prasar Bharati Corporation, in consultation with the Commission, will decide and announce the days of the week and the time slots during which these telecasts/ broadcasts will be made.
- The telecasts/ broadcasts on Doordarshan/ AIR will not permit
. Criticism of other countries
. Attack on religions or communities
. Anything obscene or defamatory
. Incitement of violence
. Anything amounting to contempt of court
. Aspersions against the integrity of the President and judiciary
. Anything affecting the unity, sovereignty and integrity of the nation
. Any criticism by the name of any person
- In addition to the Party telecasts/ broadcasts, the Prasar Bharati Corporation may organise national panel discussion/ debates on the national channel of Doordarshan and All India Radio. Each nationally recognized Party can nominate one representative to such programmes.
- The Election Commission of India will approve the names of moderators for such panel discussion and debates in consultation with the Prasar Bharati Corporation.