With the social media becoming a crucial tool for poll campaign to drum up support, the Election Commission (EC) on Sunday announced strict guidelines for the digital media giants and brought them under the umbrella of model code of conduct.
Political parties, Governments, administrations and individuals who use Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, YouTube, Instagram and other digital platforms for posting poll related materials will have to adhere to poll watchdog’s laid down ethics.
Announcing the Lok Sabha elections schedule, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora announced that
social media platforms such as Google, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter have said all political advertisements will be certified by them before releasing. He also said that Twitter, Facebook and Google will also highlight political advertisements on their platforms specifically. Facebook and Google have already deputed a dedicated a grievance officer to receive complaints of any violation of EC guidelines.
The CEC informed that IT giants have promised to take action against hate speech. Stringent monitoring of all events on election days will be done using information technology, he said. Arora also said that a social media expert is also going to be part of the Media Certification and Monitoring Committee.
According to the EC, the candidates will have to furnish the details of their social media accounts at the time of filing their nominations. In order to fight the scourge of fake news, all candidates standing for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections will have to declare their social media accounts to the Election Commission as part of their affidavit. All advertisement on social media will also require pre-certification. All expenditure on campaigning advertisement in social media is to be included in the election expenditure account, said Sunil Arora.
He also mentioned the C-Vigil app which was launched last year by the election commission. The app will help citizens to confidentially report any violation of the election code of conduct and any malpractices.
In a decision taken earlier, EC had also asked political parties to “desist from displaying photographs of defence personnel” against the backdrop of a picture showing a hoarding with images of Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman as well as leaders of a party.
The instructions came after the photograph of a hoarding displaying pictures of the IAF pilot as well as senior BJP leaders were circulated on social media and came to the EC’s notice. However, it was not known where the hoarding had been put up.
Monday, 11 March 2019 | Rajesh Kumar | New Delhi
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