Paid news highest in Punjab, Gujarat

As many as 93 cases of paid news were registered in Karnataka during the last Assembly elections, with the highest being Punjab with 523 cases, followed by 414 in Gujarat, the Centre told the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

In Madhya Pradesh, 165 cases of paid news were registered during the Assembly polls last year while Rajasthan and Delhi recorded 81 and 25 such cases respectively.

No such case was reported from the North-Eastern states, Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said in written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha.

No case of paid news was adjudicated by the Press Council of India (PCI) in 2012-13 and 2013-14, he added.

In a report on paid news, the PCI recommended an amendment to the Representations of the People Act, 1951, to make paid news a punishable electoral malpractice. It demanded powers to adjudicate complaints of paid news and give a final judgment in the matter.

The minister said the Election Commission had issued instructions to the chief electoral officers of all states to constitute district and state-level media certification and monitoring committees for scrutiny of the paid news.

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