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EC to keep an eye on paid news

NEW DELHI, September 23, 2013, DHNS: 2:50 IST
The Election Commission will put in place a 24X7 mechanism to check the menace of paid news before and during the coming assembly polls in Delhi.

The commission will soon set up committees in all districts to monitor media contents round-the-clock during the run-up to the polls in national capital territory. The poll panel is also likely to hold discussions with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to explore effective ways to deal with “paid news.”

“The poll panel will keep a strong vigil to check the menace during polls and punitive action will be taken as per provisions of the law,” said EC Director-General Akshay Rout. He said that a 24X7 mechanism to monitor content of both print and electronic media would be put in place after the notification for the assembly polls would be issued. He was speaking at a workshop organised to sensitise media ahead of the assembly polls in the national capital territory.

Delhi will go to the polls in November, along with Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Mizoram.

District electoral officers will head the committees that will be tasked with the responsibility of monitoring the contents of both print and electronic media.
The EC defines “paid news” as any news or analysis appearing in any newspaper or TV channel “for a price in cash or kind as consideration”.

If any candidate is found to be using “paid news” to woo voters, the poll panel will post in its website the names of the erring candidate, the party he or she belongs to and the newspaper or TV-channel which published or aired the “paid news”. The candidate will be asked to show cause why he or she had failed to include the expenses incurred towards getting the paid news published or aired in the electoral expenditure.

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