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Election Commission issues guidelines to deal with paid news, political ads

August 20, 2011 - New Delhi

The Election Commission (EC) has issued a set of guidelines to effectively monitor "paid news" and "political advertisements" during election campaigns.

As per the guidelines, all state Chief Electoral Officers (CEOs) will now have to obtain a list of all television and radio channels and newspapers in the state as well as their 'standard rate cards' six months before the due date of the expiry of the Lok Sabha or the State Legislative Assembly.

The Media Certification and Monitoring Committee (MCMC) at the district level and state level will monitor all political advertisements in relation to candidates, either overt or covert, and will intimate the returning officer for issue of notices to candidates for inclusion of notional expenditure based on standard rate cards in their election expenses account, even if, they actually do not pay any amount to the channel/newspaper, that is otherwise the case with "paid news".

This will also include publicity by or on behalf of candidate by "star campaigner" or others, to impact his electoral prospects.

A copy of the notice will also be marked to the Election Expenditure Observer.

In case of bye-election to parliamentary or assembly constituency, the standard rate card will be obtained by the district election officer concerned immediately on announcement of the bye-election and Media Certification and Monitoring Committee (MCMC) will take due action immediately afterwards.

In case of any technical doubt relating to the application of the standard rate card, the matter would be referred to the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP), Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, for advice.

These guidelines will have immediate effect.


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