Election Commission to keep a close watch on social media campaigns

Social networking sites should take pre-certification from Media Certification and Monitoring Committees at district and State levels

April 06, 2023 10:16 pm | Updated 10:16 pm IST - Bengaluru

Chief Electoral Officer Manoj Kumar Meena speaking at a workshop for journalists in Bengaluru on Thursday.

Chief Electoral Officer Manoj Kumar Meena speaking at a workshop for journalists in Bengaluru on Thursday. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

In the wake of the continuing trend of political parties, candidates, and their supporters using social media in a big way, the Election Commission (EC) is keeping a close watch on such campaigns. 

The EC has issued detailed guidelines for political advertisements on such platforms that include obtaining certification for contents before putting them in the public domain. It is mandatory for political parties and individual candidates to keep details of expenditure incurred on advertisements in social media and the expenses will be accounted for in the total election expenditure incurred by the candidates. Besides, all social networking sites have also been asked to maintain expenditure incurred by the political parties and individual candidates on social media advertisements, according to Suryasen A.V., Special Officer (Media, IT and SVEEP), in Karnataka.


The EC directive will be applicable to a range of Internet-based social media which include Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. “The social networking sites should take pre-certification from Media Certification and Monitoring Committees (MCMC) at the district and State levels. A special social media expert has been added in MCMC to monitor social media and report violations,” he said, while addressing a workshop on media’s role in the electoral process.

According to EC guidelines, candidates should furnish details of their social media accounts/handles at the time of filing nominations. “Any political content in the form of messages/comments/photos/videos posted/uploaded on the blogs/self accounts on websites/social media will not be treated as political advertisements and therefore would not require pre-certification. However, advertisements issued in e-paper shall invariably require pre-certification by the committee concerned. This is as part of the commission’s efforts to address the problem of paid news,” he said.


Pointing out that there was no clarity on whether to consider WhatsApp under the social media category as it was an individual messaging mobile application, the official said the Supreme Court’s guidelines on the responsibilities of group admins will be followed. “Although it is difficult to monitor violations on WhatsApp, we are keeping an eye through shadow observers,” he added.

To ensure free, fair and ethical use of social media platforms and maintain the integrity of the electoral process, the Internet and Mobile Association of India in consultation with the EC had developed a set of ‘Voluntary Code of Ethics’ for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The EC has appealed to the association to follow the voluntary code of ethics.

Media’s role

Inaugurating the workshop, Chief Electoral Officer for Karnataka Manoj Kumar Meena said media played a vital role during elections and it was an essential part of the EC.

“Most of the time we get to know about violations of Model Code of Conduct happening at the grassroots level through the media based on which complaints are lodged. Media support is essential for the effective functioning of the Election Commission,” Mr. Meena added.

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.