ECI to scrutize paid news

Shillong, Jan 31: In its attempt to ensure that no media organisations in the state should go for paid news under the influence of any political candidate, the Election Commission of India (ECI) will set up a committed to look after such practices to scrutinize incidents of paid news during election.

Director General of Election Commission of India (head of election expenditure cell) PK Dash left who is here today convene a meeting with various media representatives in order to sensitize them  on the prevalence of a menace of ‘paid news’ during the elections.

This startling fact is the finding of no less an authority than the Election Commission of India (ECI). “At least 40 per cent of a candidate’s illegal expenditure is used for paid news,” revealed P. K. Dash, director general (election expenditure), ECI here on Thursday. He sought the active help of the media to put an end to the use of money power during elections.

Dash is in Shillong to hold a meeting with political parties participating in the February 23 Assembly polls on election expenditures. “The use of money during elections has vitiated the atmosphere. It has become a malady during electioneering process,” he said.

The ECI official issued guidelines to the media regarding paid news and urged them to help curb the menace of money power. “We need the support of the media, political parties, candidates and officials involved in the electioneering process to put an end to this,” he said.

Dash said paid news involves “ethical and financial” corruption. “For the financial angle, the commission can charge the candidate, but for the ethical angle, we are finding ways and means to find out a remedy,” he said, while admitting that the ECI alone cannot check the problem of paid news and urged the media to act as a watchdog and report to the commission as and when they come across instances of paid news.

The other advice Dash had for the media was for them to self-regulate so that instead of accepting paid news, they could seek electioneering advertisement from the candidates.

“People tend to take them (advertisements) with a pinch of salt,” he said. Besides, advertisement expenditure, he added, will be reflected in the candidate’s accounts.(SP News)


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