In a bid to curb ‘paid-news’ during polls, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has decided to upload the names of media houses and candidates on its website if they are found guilty.
The commission has so far been issuing notices to media houses and candidates with information to the concerned political parties and the regulatory bodies for print and electronic media.
“We will be putting the names of media houses and candidates found guilty of malpractice of paid news on the website so that people could get to know about them,” said Akshay Rout, director general of the election commission.
Rout was here to oversee functioning of the Media Certification and Monitoring Committee (MCMC). He directed the district collectors to form committees in their respective districts at the earliest keeping in mind the forthcoming elections. He also said there was suggestion to cover paid news under Corrupt Practices Act, but it has not been done so far.
“Self regulation by media, political parties and candidates is the best option, but this is not happening. Majority of electronic news channels are not following the norms of news coverage before 48 hours of the polling,” he said. He added that the MCMC at district level have helped in elections in Gujarat, Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh.
The commission detected 93 cases of paid news in Karnataka polls, 104 cases in Himachal Pradesh, and 414 cases in Gujarat. The MCMCs at district electoral offices have been asked to prepare weekly paid news monitoring reports to check the menace, he said.