Vadodara: In a bid to check circulation of "paid news" during the forthcoming Assembly elections in Gujarat, the Election Commission of India has issued some guidelines with illustrations to handle such cases.

Vadodara district election officer Vinod Rao has constituted a media certification and monitoring committee (MCMC) that will monitor all political advertisements to be aired on TV channels and cable network, during the electoral process and also keep tab on suspected "paid news".

This will ensure free and fair polls, Rao said.

Some of the illustrations that the ECI has mentioned to the MCMC, Vadodara, with respect to paid news include - 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, praising competing candidates claiming that both are likely to win the election.

Also, 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, news item saying that the good work done by a party/ candidate had marginalised the electoral prospects of the other party/ candidate, and other items have been cited as illustrations by the ECI.

The MCMC will watch such news and intimate the Returning Officer for issue of notices to candidates for inclusion of actual expenditure on the published matter or notional expenditure in their election expenses account, either based on or irrespective of whether the candidate actually paid or not to the newspaper, Rao said.

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

The ECI expects that the candidates from political parties would refrain from such practices, he added.


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