Collector asks media to be careful with poll coverage, says EC keeping an eye on paid news

Advising representatives of various political parties to be careful about the poll expenditure, Collector Neetu Prasad on Tuesday said the media too must be extra careful while dealing with election coverage, as the Election Commission was keeping an eye on paid news.

Addressing a sensitisation programme for political leaders, representatives of printing presses and that of the print and electronic media here, Ms. Neetu Prasad said all the contesting candidates must open fresh accounts with the banks exclusively for poll expenditure and all the transactions must be done only through the bank. “The cap on spending is Rs. 70 lakh for the candidates contesting for Parliament and Rs. 28 lakh for those contesting for Legislative Assembly,” she said, adding that the expenditure must be recorded right from the filing of nominations.

“Even if supporters of the candidates or the party concerned arrange publicity material with the name and photograph of the candidate, it will be considered as candidate’s poll expense,” she said. She further advised contestants to take prior approval from the district administration for publicity material being aired and circulated during the campaign.

On paid news, the Collector said the EC would act tough. She said though it was difficult to draw a line between general news and paid news, the EC had issued certain guidelines to identify paid articles. She said all news stories and advertisements in the media would be monitored closely till the poll process was complete.