Delhi

‘Democracy under threat from black money, fake news’

CEC O.P. Rawat flanked by Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa, right, and Chief Electoral Officer, Delhi, Vijay Dev in the Capital on Saturday.

CEC O.P. Rawat flanked by Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa, right, and Chief Electoral Officer, Delhi, Vijay Dev in the Capital on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: Vijay Verma

Chief Election Commissioner O.P. Rawat says current law inadequate to counter black money used in elections

Use of black money, data harvesting and fake news were among the potential threats to democracy, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) O.P. Rawat said on Saturday.

Speaking at a symposium on “Challenges to Indian Electoral Democracy” organised here by the office of the Chief Electoral Officer of Delhi, Mr. Rawat said, “With the rise of fake news, with the rise of make believe things, with the rise of all kind of machinations like data theft, data harvesting, profiling, targeted communication...That is the potent threat every democracy in the world is facing.”

Explaining why “state funding” was not an option at present, he said the current law was inadequate to counter black money used in elections.

He said, “It [state funding] will not serve the purpose effectively because so long as you have torrents of money from such sources flowing into the election arena, state funding is just like a fig leaf trying to control that torrent.”

Reason for duplicity

Earlier, Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa emphasised the need to update technology to harmonise the electoral roll and avoid duplicity. He said, “We need an automated technology that can simultaneously update the electoral roll as births and deaths take place.”

To this, the CEC added that duplicity was largely happening as most people who register at a new place of residence, forget to get their name deleted at the old place.

Talking about the fake news problem, the CEC said the media should adopt some international practices, including regular columns that highlight the fake news stories of the week.

Same issues highlighted

Later, former CEC S.Y. Quraishi spoke about the reasons for India being categorised as a “flawed democracy”.

He said that the Democracy Index, which is produced by the United Kingdom-based Economic Intelligence Unit, had highlighted the same issues that the Election Commission had been highlighting — criminalisation of politics and money power.

Why you should pay for quality journalism - Click to know more

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 12:13:40 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/democracy-under-threat-from-black-money-fake-news/article24958022.ece

Next Story