The EC’s New Guidelines for “Paid News”

TNI Bureau: The Election Commission has issued stricter guidelines for the ‘Paid News services. It has asked candidates to reply within 48 hours to notices sent to them regarding Paid News. The Commission has also asked the Media Certification and Monitoring Committees (MCMC) at the districts and state levels to decide such cases within the 48 hours of getting the reply from a candidate.

Issuing fresh instructions to Chief Electoral Officers of all states, including the poll-bound states of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, the Commission said in case the candidate did not reply within the specified time, the MCMC decision will be considered final.

“The District/State level MCMC shall decide on the reply expeditiously, preferably within 48 hours of receiving of reply and convey to the candidate/party its final decision,” the EC’s said.

Returning officers were till now required to send notices within 96 hours of the publication/telecast of the ‘paid news’ on references from the MCMC.

The EC is taking the ‘Paid News’ issue seriously during the upcoming assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.

The new steps are being taken to curb the practice of ‘Paid News’ and will cover all cinema halls, TV channels, cable networks and radio including private FM channels.

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