December 8, 2011 admin


CHANDIGARH, DECEMBER 8: The Election Commission of India today sought cooperation of Media to tackle the menace of Paid News and also to generate awareness amongst the voters regarding importance of voting.
     Addressing a workshop with media in view of 2012 Vidhan Sabha polls, the Director General of Elections Mr. P.K. Dash and Mr. Akshay Rout flanked by Chief Electoral Officer, Punjab Ms Kusumjit Sidhu emphasised that media was an important source of information for voters, candidates, election commission of India, rest of world and could influence the decision of voters. They said that media should be unbiased in reporting, coverage and observe the instructions of ECI and CEO issued under power vested with them under Representation of People Act.
     Elaborating the guidelines issued by Press Council of India in September 2010, they stressed that the Press should give objective reports about elections, candidates, newspapers should not carry exaggerated reports about any candidates/party or incident during elections, election campaign along communal or caste lines should not be printed. They said that the Press should also not accept any inducement, financial or otherwise to project a candidate.
     They emphasised that the press was not expected to indulge in canvassing of a particular candidate/party and it should also not accept or publish any advertisement at the cost of Public Exchequer regarding achievement of a party or government in power. They said that press should also follow all the directions, orders and instructions time to time issued by Election Commission of India and from Chief Electoral Officer.
Elaborating the guidelines, they also emphasised on the need of not publishing unverified allegations against any candidate and party besides refraining from publishing false or critical statements in regard to the personal character of any candidate, in relation to the candidature, withdrawal of any candidate, his candidature and to prejudice the prospects of that candidate. Seeking cooperation from the electronic media too, they said that the Electronic Media may also follow the guidelines and directions issued by ECI in letter and spirit.
Revealing the legal provisions under the law, Mr. Dash said that under section 127-A of RPA, no person shall print and publish any election pamphlet or poster without carrying name and address of the printer and the publisher. He said that no person shall print any election pamphlet and poster without getting a declaration as to identify of the publisher, signed by him and attested by two persons, which would be submitted with the printer in duplicate besides sending a copy of printing document along with declaration to the Chief Electoral Officer and District Election Officer.
Explaining the election pamphlet or poster, the duo said that election pamphlet and posters means any printed pamphlet, handbill and other document distributed for the purpose of the promoting prejudicing the election of a candidate. They said that ECI has clarified in its instruction no 491/media/2009 dated 08/06/2010 that any paid advertisement in the newspapers including paid news would fall in the category of ‘other document’, while persons contravening such provisions shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term, which may be extended to 6 months or fine or both. They said that under section 171H of Indian Penal Code, whoever without the general and special authority in writing of a candidate incurs or authorizes expenses on account of the holding of any public meeting, or upon any advertisement, circular or publications, or in any other way whatsoever for the purpose of promoting or procuring the election of such candidate shall be liable to be punished under the above section. 
          Prominent amongst those present in the briefing included Mrs. Usha R. Sharma, Additional Chief Electoral Officer and Mr. Gurkirat Kirpal Singh, Joint Chief Electoral Officer, Punjab.

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