news - state election commission madhya pradesh

January 8, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Arts & Humanities, Writing, Journalism
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Paid News



Paid News has been defined by PCI as - Any news or analysis appearing in any media (Print & Electronic) for a price in cash or kind as consideration.  Press Council of India guidelines say- news should be clearly demarcated from advertisements by printing disclaimers, should be strictly enforced by all publications. As far as news is concerned, it must always carry a credit line and should be set in a typeface that would distinguish it from advertisements.

The malaise 

Paid News misleads the public and hampers the ability of people to form correct opinions.



Paid News causes undue influence on voters and also affects their Right to Information.



Paid News seeks to circumvent election expenditure laws/ ceiling



Paid News adversely affects level playing field

How to check Make ‘paid News’ an electoral offence through amendment of election act.  Use existing mechanisms of expenditure ceiling to curb the menace  Partner with stakeholders, including political parties and media to fight the menace  Sensitise people on the subject 

Steps taken by SEC 

SEC has issued instructions to state and district officers to scrutinize, identify and report cases of Paid News.  The Commission has appointed a Media Certification & Monitoring Committee (MCMC) at District and State level for checking Paid News.  The Committee has Officers from Public Relations Department  The Committee will scrutinise all media within its jurisdiction to identify political advertisement in the garb of news.  MCMC shall also actively consider paid news cases referred to it by the Expenditure Observers.

District MCMC 

District MCMC shall intimate the Returning Officer for issue of notices to candidates for inclusion of actual expenditure on the published matter in their election expenses account



or notional expenditure based on CPR rates in their election expenses account irrespective of whether the candidate actually has paid or not paid any amount to the channel/newspaper.



A copy of the notice shall also be marked to Expenditure Observer.



On reference from District MCMC, RO shall give notice to the candidates within 96 hrs of publication/ broadcast/telecast/receipt of complaint to explain why expenditure should not be added to the candidate’s expenditure.



District MCMC shall decide on the reply expeditiously and convey to the Candidate/Party its final decision.



In case no reply is received by District MCMC from the candidate within 48 hrs of serving of notice, the decision of MCMC will be final.



If decision of District level MCMC is not acceptable to the candidate, he/she may appeal to State level MCMC within 48 hrs of receipt of decision, with information to the District MCMC.

Appeal Mechanism 

The State level MCMC shall dispose of the case within 96 hrs of receipt of appeal and convey the decision to the Candidate with a copy to District level MCMC.



The Candidate may appeal against the decision of State level MCMC to EC within 48 hrs of receiving of order from this Committee. The decision of EC shall be final.

Additional Checks 

District Collectors have been instructed to take meeting with Political Parties as well as media houses to alert them against surrogate advertising and Paid News and consequences of violation.



Political parties and media houses have been briefed and sensitized in advance at HQs.

Decided cases of paid news 

Once the cases are decided as paid news, the print media cases should be sent to SEC for referring it to PCI for action against the concerned Media House.  Paid News cases related to electronic media are to be referred by the Commission to National Broadcasters Association for consideration by National Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA).

Some Illustrations 

Identical articles with photographs and headlines appearing in competing publications carrying by-lines of different authors around the same time.  On the same page of specific newspapers, articles praising competing candidates claiming that both are likely to win the same elections.  News item stating that one candidate is getting the support of each and every section of society and that he would win elections from the constituency.

Illustrations-more 

News items favouring a candidate, not carrying any byline.



Newspaper publishing a banner headline stating that a party/candidate is ready to create history in the state/constituency but not carrying any news item related to this headline.



News item saying that the good work done by a Party/Candidate had marginalised the electoral prospects of the other party/candidate in the state with each and every sentence of the news item in favour of the party/candidate.

Illustrations - more 

There are instances of fixed size news items, each say of a length of 125-150 words with a double-column photo. The fixed size news items hid more than they revealed. News items are seldom written in such a rigid format and size whereas advertisements are most often.  In specific newspapers, multiple font types and multiple drop case styles were noticed within the same page of a single newspaper. This happened because just about everything – the layouts, fonts, printouts, photographs – was provided by candidates who had paid for slots in the pages of the newspaper.

Considerations 

PCI has not provided any conclusive criteria to adjudge Paid News



The illustrations and decided case examples of Paid News are for guidance of MCMC. These are not exhaustive.



Application of mind by MCMC is the key. Hence, decisions should always be by the committee and not by individuals.



PCI has expressed inability to nominate members to district committees. Nominations by DEOs should be judicious.

Status Status of Paid News Cases during General Election of Bihar-2010 SI No. 1.

Name of State/UT Bihar



No. of Paid News Cases 15

Status of Paid News Cases during Assembly General Election in 2011 SI No.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Name of State/UT No. of cases, in which notices to the candidate issued Kerala 65 Puducherry 3 Assam 42 West Bengal 15 Tamil Nadu* 11

No. of confirmed cases of Paid News 65 3 27 8 22

Status of Paid News Cases during Assembly General Election in 2012 SI No. Name of State/UT

 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Uttar Pradesh Uttarakhand Punjab* Goa* Manipur Gujarat Himachal Pradesh

No. of cases, in which notices to the candidate issued 97 60 339 63 Nil 495 190

No. of confirmed cases of Paid News 97 30 523 9 Nil 414 104

*Certain cases are still in process. Some are getting modified.

Status Status of Paid News Cases during Assembly General Election in 2013 SI No.

Name of State/UT

No. of confirmed cases of Paid News

Tripura

No. of cases, in which notices to the candidate issued No

1. 2. 3.

Meghalaya Nagaland

No No

No No

4.

Karnataka

93

93

5.

Madhya Pradesh

279

165

6.

Delhi

80

25

7.

Chhattisgarh

35

32

8.

Rajasthan

110

81

9.

Mizoram

0

0

No

*Certain cases are still in process. Some are getting modified.

Challenges 

There is circumstantial evidence, but little proof. Establishing transaction of cash or kind is indeed not very easy, as it is usually done without any record and promptly denied by both sides, when enquired.



Media violations, surrogate advertisement and unreported advertisements are often mistaken as Paid News by MCMC. A suspect case of Paid News only begins from a news item.



Timelines are quite tight. However if these are not maintained, it is not possible to account expenditure on Paid News in a particular election process.

Way ahead 

The Commission considers self regulation by political parties, candidates and media houses as one of the main solution to this malaise.



The enforcement needs to be more streamlined and the instructions would require higher clarity.



As the Commission’s intention is more preventive rather than punitive, it is undertaking educational campaign on Paid News involving political parties, media houses and other stakeholders.

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