Amid concerns over growing incidence of “paid news” during elections, the Election Commission (EC) has detected 414 “confirmed” cases during the recently-concluded Gujarat Assembly election. It was initiating action against the erring candidates by including such expenses in their poll expenditure, a top EC official said here.

“A total of 414 confirmed cases of paid news have been reported from Gujarat during last year’s assembly polls after verification by various Media Certification and Monitoring Committees (MCMC) set up by the poll body at the district and state levels to detect such cases."

These monitoring committees sent around 500 notices on cases of paid news that they identified. Sources said a large number of candidates have admitted to having paid for such news in the electronic and the print media.

The Commission will also be writing to the Press Council of India sking it to take necessary action against media houses indulging inpaid news without calling them advertisements. — PTI