Election Commission of India serious towards paid news
Bhopal: Directives given by Election Commission of India regarding paid news are being complied with by district election officers and prompt action is being ensured. Additional Director Public Relations Shri Suresh Awatramani gave information about ensuring necessary action to prevent paid news at a 3-day training at Academy of Administration here today. District election officers, district returning officers and assistant returning offices are participating in the training.
It was informed during the training that Press Council of India has termed as paid news all news or such election analysis for whose publication and telecast fees is given. The Election Commission has decided with consent of all political parties at meetings on October 4, 2010 and March 9, 2011 to take strict action against paid news. It was informed that the commission has sent a proposal to the Union Government for declaring paid news as an election crime under Representation of People Act-1951. Paid news can be prevented with effective use of existing sytem of election expenditure limit.
Information was also given about constitution and functioning of district level committees for preventing paid news. A returning officer has to issue notice regarding paid news within 96 hours against concerning person. If no response is received from concerning person within 48 hours, decision will be taken against him, which will be final. It was informed that paid news will have to be monitored constantly after imposition of code of conduct for elections. District returning officers were asked to hold meetings with publication houses and political parties constantly regarding paid news. It was informed that 42 cases of paid news were identified during recent elections for Karnataka Vidhan Sabha.
The meeting was informed about constitution of Media Certification and Monitoring Committee (MCMC). The committee will be constituted at district and state levels, which will take immediate action following receipt of information about paid news. The district level committee will comprise district election officers, assistant election officer, officers of Information & Broadcasting Ministry and impartial journalists. District Public Relations Officer will be appointed Member Secretary of the Committee.