The Election Commission of India has issued guidelines to check the menace of paid news during the forthcoming legislative assembly elections in Haryana.
Stating this here on Thursday, chief electoral officer (CEO) Haryana, Shrikant Walgad said as per the guidelines, district level media certification and monitoring committee (MCMC) and state level MCMC would be constituted during the election period to take up the additional task of keeping a check on the cases of paid news.
He said that the district level MCMC would be constituted in each district.
Its members will include district election officer (DEO) or returning officer (RO) of Parliamentary constituency, assistant returning officer (ARO) not below sub divisional magistrate (SDM), official of union ministry of information and broadcasting, if any in the district, independent citizen or journalist as may be recommended by Press Council of India (PCI) and district information and public relations officer or district information officer or equivalent.
Walgad said that the Committee would submit a daily report to accounting team with copy to RO and expenditure observer in respect of each candidate.
It will be in prescribed format with respect to expenditure incurred by the candidate on election advertising or actual expenditure incurred for publishing the 'news' that is substantiated by necessary documents furnished by the candidate or notional expenditure as computed by the committee in the assessed cases of paid news, he said.
The MCMC would create a suitable mechanism for monitoring media and would be equipped with adequate manpower and infrastructure for the same, he added.
He added the state level MCMC would have chief electoral officer as chairman, any observer appointed by ECI, one expert to be co-opted by the committee, Officer of Indian Information Service (IIS), at the level of under secretary or deputy secretary posted in the state, representing a media department of union government as separate from the expert to be co-opted by the committee, an independent citizen or journalist as nominated by PCI, if any, and additional or joint CEO in charge of media as member secretary.
He said that if PCI does not provide names to be included in the committee, the CEO might himself appoint either an independent senior citizen or journalist, who is willing and who, in the opinion of the CEO, is eligible in terms of background and record of neutrality.