Bihar Assembly Election: Election Commission’s strict monitoring on paid and fake news

The Election Commission is keeping a strict vigil on paid and fake news in the Bihar Assembly elections. For this, a Media Certification and Monitoring Committee (MCMC) cell has been formed in the districts. Candidates or parties have to get certification from this committee before the advertisement is telecast. Only then will they be able to give the advertisement for airing.

Apart from this provision of taking permission, the Election Commission has made more robust arrangements for the monitoring of paid news. Shift wise employees are appointed at MCMC to fully monitor the news running in print and electronic media. If the committee feels that any news printed or circulated in print or electronic medium can be paid news, it can issue a notice to the concerned and summon the reply. There is also a provision for action if the answer is not satisfactory or if the answer is not found to be correct. In such a situation, the expenditure on the advertisement along with the proceedings has been ascertained and included in the election expenses of the candidate.

It is necessary for the MCMC to respond within 48 hours of notice regarding paid news in view of MCMC. After this, whatever decision the district level MCMC gives, an appeal can be made to the state-level committee within 48 hours. If the candidate or party is not satisfied with the answer of the state-level committee, then it can appeal to the Election Commission of India within 48 hours of its decision. The decision of the Election Commission of India in this matter will be final.

It has been made mandatory for candidates, parties, or their supporters to get certification from the committee before the airing of political advertisements on electronic channels. For this, the candidate has to apply on the prescribed form along with the necessary documents. After a thorough examination of the advertisement material, the District Election Officer will give his decision. Only then will the advertisement be broadcast.

On Wednesday, Deputy Development Commissioner Manan Ram in Kosi reviewed the operation of MCMC and expenditure and monitoring cells. During the review of expenditure and monitoring, he directed to conduct videography of the entire process. During the review of the media and MCMC, he directed intensive monitoring of paid and fake news.

DPRO Ranjit Kumar, the nodal officer of this cell, said that the news and advertisements published and circulated in print and electronic media are being closely monitored. Paliwal officers and employees have been appointed for this. Told that MCMC has become fully active in the assembly elections for the authentication of electronic and social media before airing political advertisements and to monitor social media such as WhatsApp newsgroups, Facebook pages, news portals, cable TV, YouTube channels.

Legal action will be taken against the people concerned on paid and fake news. This time social media experts have also been added with the aim of supporting the MCMC committee to scan social media in elections, reports Hindustan.

Attempting to spoil the atmosphere will be punished
Deputy Development Commissioner Manan Ram said that trying to spoil the atmosphere by spreading false information, accusations against each other, on the basis of caste, religion, class, language would be considered a violation of the model code of conduct. Also, full certification of political advertisements on electronic and social media through MCMC will also be mandatory for the candidates. It is clear that if any news proves to be paid news, then on the recommendation of the committee, the RO will issue a notice to the person/party in concern for action.

It is mandatory to get pre-certification from the MCMC before airing any political advertisement on various channels, various social media platforms, Facebook pages, portals, WhatsApp apps, newsgroups, YouTube channels, cable TV, FM radio, cinema hall, etc. will happen. If not, legal action will be taken. At the time of enrollment, every candidate will have to give his email ID and detailed information about his social media account at the time of filing an affidavit in Form 26.

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