MCMC to keep hawk's eye on paid news in DK

MCMC to keep hawk's eye on paid news in DK

10 television sets will be used to scrutinise news throughout the day

The Media Certification and Monitoring Committee (MCMC) has been formed in Dakshina Kannada district as per the guidelines of the Election Commission and is all set to check paid news problem in the run up to May 5 State Assembly elections.

The Election Commission has made it mandatory to scrutinise the media, following complaints of rampant paid news during the Maharashtra  Assembly polls.

The recently formed district level committee consists of District Electoral Officer (deputy commissioner), Returning Officers of the respective constituencies, a senior employee from Akashavani (as a representative of I & B Ministry), a senior journalist from a regional language daily and the District Information Officer (nodal officer).
The DEO and the ROs will verify advertisements in the media, while other members look into complaints.

The district level committee will function 24X7 by scanning the media for suspected paid news to ensure that media strictly adheres to the Press Council of India guidelines which says “news should be clearly demarcated from advertisements by printing disclaimers and should be strictly enforced by all publication. The news must always carry a credit line and should be set in a typeface that would distinguish it from advertisement.”

Monitoring arrangement

The district level MCMC has decided to make elaborate monitoring arrangements in the Information and Publicity Department office in Mangalore to continously keep a watch on media reports. The monitoring cell, to be set up at the department office within next three days, will have a group of selected members, including professors and students of journalism, to read all local newspapers and magazine reports and advertisements, websites and social networking sites, watch television news channels and listen to radio stations. As many as ten television sets will be used to scrutinise news  throughout the day. The news and other programmes telecast during the night will be recorded for scrutiny the next day.

Steps have been taken up to keep a vigil on bulk SMSes also. The committee will keep an eye on political propaganda through SMSes. The criteria to monitor the bulk SMSes limit is set as 250. A special team of technical experts will also keep hawk’s eye on political propaganda through websites and social network sites. Apart from checking paid news, the district MCMC will also calculate the expenditure of the candidates and intimate the Returning Officer for issuing notices to candidates for including it in their election expenses account.

Complaints

In case of complaints or foul play in the election expense account of the candidate, the RO, on reference from District MCMC, will seek clarification from the candidate within 96 hours of publication/broadcast. The District MCMC will take a decision based on the reply and inform its final decision to the candidate. If the candidate fails to respond within 48 hours, the decision of the MCMC will be final. The candidate will have the right to appeal to State MCMC within 48 hours of getting the decision.

The state MCMC will dispose of the case within 96 hours of receiving complaint. The candidate can approach the EC. If the cases are decided as paid news, the print media cases will be sent to the ECI for referring it to the PCI for taking action against the particular media house.

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