The civic body has formed a committee to keep a check on paid news during the civic polls.
Paid news includes information about candidates that appear in the print media or on TV channels that has been paid for.
After the dates for the civic polls were announced, the State Election Commission (SEC) directed all municipal corporations to form committees that would act on complaints about paid news.
“If any news appears in favour of a candidate, the committee may treat the news as advertisement and deduct the cost from the candidate’s Rs 5-lakh limit. If an opponent proves that the candidate’s expenses are above Rs 5 lakh, the candidate can debarred for the next three years from all elections,” said civic official, requesting
This is the first time that the limit for a candidate’s expenditure during the election code of conduct has been increased to Rs 5 lakh from Rs 1.35 lakh.
The paid news review committee is headed by Mohan Adtani, additional municipal commissioner, and comprises seven officials from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Mumbai police.
A district information officer, a member of the Press Council of India, returning officers of the respective wards and the civic public relations officer will also be members of the committee.
SS Shinde, joint municipal commissioner, said: “The committee will start working in a day or two.”
Former chief minister Ashok Chavan has been involved in a controversy over paid news after there were complaints that he allegedly paid newspapers to publish stories in his favour in 2009 just before Assembly polls were announced.