Steps afoot to curb 'paid news' in AP

Steps afoot to curb 'paid news' in AP

Ahead of the Assembly by-election in six seats in Telangana and one in coastal Andhra Pradesh on March 18, elaborate arrangements are being made to curb the menance of “paid news” in the state. 

The issue of paid news was discussed at a meeting held by the state Chief Electoral Officer Bhanwar Lal at the Secretariat on Wednesday here. The meeting highlighted the need for self-restraint and vigilance by both the print and electronic media.

Punjab had topped the list of the cases of paid news reported from five states that went to the polls.

According to the Election Commission, a total of 626 cases of paid news were reported during the just-concluded assembly polls. Of this 523 suspected cases were reported from Punjab alone and notices were issued in 339 cases.

Andhra Pradesh was witness to various strategies and modes of electioneering, particularly with the advent of TDP (Telugu Desam Party) in 1982 .

The party ushered in the concept of Chaitanya Yatras, cinema style visual and print media campaigns. The district editions of vernacular papers and  magazines have been the vehicles of the media campaign since then.

Addressing a meeeting on   on “Paid News” and its impact in the 2012 by-elections in the state Chief Electoral Officer  Bhanwar Lal said a mechanism had been put in place at the Chief Electoral Officer’s office in the Secretariat to monitor all newspapers including the local editions from districts going to polls.

Steps are also afoot to  supervise the security and other necessary  preparations for the conduct of free and fair elections.

Bhanwar Lal also elaborated  on the arrangements being  made for recording 16 news   channels on a 24x7  basis   to keep  a constant vigil on the telecast of campaigning, electioneering  and identification of any news item that could be put  under the category of “Paid News“.

In the districts also Media Monitoring and Certification Committees have been set up  under the chairmanship  of the Joint Collector with senior district based  journalists and District PRO to keep a close watch on the print and electronic media to curb the phenomenon of “Paid News.”

The issue of paid news had stirred a hornet’s nest after coming to prominence few years back.

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