One will be held in Puducherry within 10 days

In an effort to ensure level-playing field to all political parties and candidates in the ensuing Lok Sabha elections and prevent ill-effects of paid news, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has instructed all Chief Electoral Officers to conduct workshops on paid news and media communication and monitoring committee in different parts of the country.

T. Sreekanth, Chief Electoral Officer, Puducherry, who participated in a recent conference of Chief Electoral Officers of States and Union Territories organised by the Election Commission of India in New Delhi, told The Hindu that ‘prevention of paid news’ was in the agenda discussed in detail.

The Commission had asked the CEOs to conduct workshops and programmes with the print and electronic mediapersons in different parts of the country to sensitise them to the ill-effects of paid news.

The workshop would be held in Puducherry within 10 days.

A group of officials had been given training on preventing candidates to gain undue advantage by following paid news concept, which is unethical.

Stating that the workshop would give good results, Mr. Sreekanth said it was among the initiatives of the EC to prevent use of money power in polls.

The workshop was aimed at interacting with journalists and to inform the Press Council of India’s recommendations on conduct of mediapersons during elections.

The mediapersons would be given materials containing do’s and don’ts.

Mr. Sreekanth said there was a gap between voting percentage in Parliamentary and Assembly elections in Puducherry.

Polling percentage in 2009 Assembly Elections in Puducherry was 85 and 79 in 2011 Assembly elections.

Hence, it had been decided to bridge the gap in the ensuring Parliamentary elections. Election officials would take steps to motivate the voters to exercise their franchise.

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