7-day ban to blackouts: How other countries deal with exit polls
The Election Commission guidelines for media exit polls are very strict in India, not allowing any airing of views ‘promoting or prejudicing the prospect’ of any party or candidate winning. Here’s what happens in other countries:Updated: May 19, 2019 16:45 IST
In India, strict Election Commission laws govern the airing of exit polls and opinion polls during Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. The poll body’s guidelines for media says such polls can only be telecast after the final phase of polling for the Lok Sabha election ends.
The poll body’s advisory also says that television and radio channels, cable networks, websites and social media platforms should ensure that the contents of programmes telecast during the 48-hour period before the end of polls in each phase “do not contain any material, including views or appeals by participants that may be construed as promoting or prejudicing the prospect” of any particular party or candidate. The advisory included these guidelines for websites and social media for the first time during this year’s Lok Sabha election.
The EC has said the advisory shall among other things include the display of any opinion poll and of standard debates, analysis, visuals and sound-bytes.
The poll watchdog has also said news broadcasters must not air any final, formal and definite results until such results are formally announced by it unless such results are carried with a clear disclaimer that they are unofficial or incomplete or partial results or projections which should not be taken as final results.
Here is what other countries across the world say about exits polls:
* There are 16 countries in the European Union which have banned the reporting of opinion polls, with timeframes ranging from a month to just 24 hours before polling day.
* In France, the ban is for 24 hours ahead of voting day. The seven-day ban imposed by France in 1977 was overturned by a court that said it was in violation of the freedom of expression.
* Italy, Slovakia and Luxembourg have a ban of more than seven days.
* There are no restrictions on publishing the results of opinion polls in the United Kingdom, but exit polls results can’t be shared until the voting is over.
* In the United States, the publication of opinion polls is allowed at any time. News organisations, who commission the polls, voluntarily impose upon themselves that they won’t report likely outcomes from exit polls before voting is over.
* Germany has made it a criminal offence to release exit poll figures before all polling stations have closed
* In Bulgaria, the announcement of the results of exit polls is illegal on the election day.
* Singapore has a total ban on exit polls.
First Published: May 18, 2019 14:33 IST