Expressing “grave concern” over the “paid news” phenomenon, the Editor’s Guild has asked the Election Commission to take strong action against candidates as well as media persons involved in such practice.

A delegation of the Guild, led by its president Rajdeep Sardesai, met Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla and submitted a memorandum, deploring the growing trend in some quarters for political advertisements to be purveyed as news.

Mr. Sardesai said this dangerous trend was threatening the foundations of journalism by eroding public faith, credibility and impartiality of news reporting.

Mr. Chawla said that while the Commission did not have the mechanism to monitor the candidates in all 543 constituencies, some random samples could be examined closely.

To a suggestion by the Guild to increase the expenditure limit of the candidates to a “realistic level”, Mr. Chawla said it was not in the hands of the Commission as the limit was fixed by Parliament only.

Election Commissioner S. Y. Qureshi said that the manner in which the Commission handled the complaints against Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan in the recent Maharashtra assembly polls will serve as a test case to demonstrate the EC’s commitment to tackle the growing malaise of “paid news”.

Please see related media for text (pdf document: 150kb) of the Press Note by the Editor's Guild

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