Representatives of the recognised political parties in the poll-bound States and one Union territory on Wednesday urged the Election Commission to take strong action against “paid news” and advise the media houses for formulating a code of ethics. They sought the EC's nod to appoint “expenditure agents” for their candidates for better expenditure accounting.

The Commission had called for the meeting here with the representatives of the parties in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal, Assam and Puducherry to brief them about the new guidelines on the model code of conduct, revised affidavit to be filed with the nomination papers, paid news and election expenditure monitoring. Office-bearers of six national parties and 11 of 13 State parties attended.

The toll-free telephone number – 1965 – to register poll-related complaints would start functioning from Thursday, they were told.  

Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi, who chaired the meeting, told The Hindu that the Commission was planning a meeting with the media representatives on media ethics, paid news, and self-regulation.

On the show-cause notice issued by the Commission to Union Chemicals and Fertilizers Minister M.K. Alagiri for allegedly violating the code of conduct, Mr. Quraishi said the Commission would soon decide on the matter.