EC issues new norms to tackle ‘paid news'

The Election Commission has asked the Chief Electoral Officers of States and Union Territories to obtain the standard advertisement rate cards of television and radio channels and the print media six months before the Lok Sabha/Assembly elections so as to check ‘paid news' and the misuse of the media by political parties.

In a recent letter to the CEOs, the Commission said this was to ensure uniformity while dealing with ‘paid news,' even when no consideration of cash and kind was involved in giving the candidates publicity. The new guideline would deal with advertisements taken out by candidates on television and cable channels owned by political parties or their functionaries and office-bearers.

The Commission had been receiving complaints and references about ‘paid news' and advertisements on television/cable channels owned by parties or their functionaries or office-bearers, as they were not reflected in the candidates' election expenditure.

The CEOs should obtain and forward the list of advertisement rate cards to the Commission six months before the date of expiry of the term of the Lok Sabha or the Assembly, the letter said.

The media certification and monitoring committee at the district and State levels would monitor all political advertisements in relation to candidates, and inform the Returning Officer for issue of notices to candidates for inclusion of the notional expenditure based on the standard rate cards in their account.

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