Media Certification and Monitoring Committee formed to check news reports in both electronic and print media for paid news or advertisements

From social media to SMSs, a standing committee will be keeping a hawk’s eye on the activities of candidates in the district during the run-up to Lok Sabha poll, scheduled for April 10.

Representatives of various registered political parties will be members of the standing committee on poll affairs, led by District Collector C.A. Latha. Deputy Collector (Elections) P.V. Gangadharan will be the convener of the committee.

The committee was set up at a meeting held on Saturday following the declaration of the poll date. The election code of conduct was discussed at a meeting held at the Collectorate in which the representatives of political parties took part.

Model code

Thirteen special squads have been activated from Saturday to ensure that the election code of conduct is strictly enforced across the district. Each Assembly segment will have a five-member team.

The District Collector said that every effort would be taken to foster an atmosphere of freedom and fairness during the pre-poll days with no undue favours shown to any political party.

The committee has asked all political parties to remove from public places placards, posters, banners and flex boards extolling the achievements of the incumbents. In case of violation or delay, the district administration will remove them and the expenses would be included in the election accounts of the political party and candidate concerned.

“No campaign should be done through SMS, Facebook or social media for candidates. The Election Commission has ordered that even benefits received or expenses made through such media to further the prospects of candidates or political parties will be categorised as their election expenses,” a statement issued by the district administration said.

A Media Certification and Monitoring Committee has been formed to check the news reports in both electronic and print media for paid news or advertisements. If detected, the money spent on this will be considered towards the election expenses of the candidate or political party in question.

Those violating the election procedures are liable for punishment with one-year jail term or fine up to Rs.5,000.

Problem booths

Ms. Latha, who is also the District Election Officer, has asked for a report on the polling booths that are prone to problems of any kind so as to strengthen security there.

Polling stations where a single candidate polled more than 75 per cent votes, polling stations where re-polling was held in the past, and places where Maoist presence was reported are considered ‘problem booths.’ Special security arrangements will be made in such polling stations.

The district will have 1,883 polling stations in the 13 Assembly segments in Kozhikode district. These 13 Assembly segments form part of the Kozhikode, Vadakara, and Wayanad Lok Sabha seats.

District Collectors have been told to ensure that basic necessities such as drinking water, proper lighting, safety and ramp facilities for physically challenged voters are available at the poll booths.

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