EC to keep strict vigil over paid news during the Lok Sabha Polls: says Chief Electoral Officer

Sibin C holds state level virtual meetings with the DPROs, asking them to perform their duty diligently

Punjab Sibin C Chief Electoral Officer Punjab

Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Punjab Mr. Sibin C on Thursday categorically said that the Election Commission will keep a strict vigil over the paid news in Print, Electronic and Social Media during the ensuing Lok Sabha elections in the state.


Chairing a state level virtual meeting with the District Public Relations Officers (DPROs) here today, the Chief Electoral Officer said that the Commission has issued strict instructions to monitor the advertisements, publicity of candidates and paid news cases. He said that for this the district level Media Certification and Monitoring Committees have been constituted with the DPROs as their nodal officers. Mr. Sibin C asserted that these committees have been mandated to keep a strict vigil over the news content in news channels, social media plateforms as well as news papers.


The Chief Electoral Officer asked all the DPROs to perform their duty diligently to check such news content and subsequently report the paid news, if any, to the concerned Returning Officers (ROs). He envisioned that the committee will keep watch on poll-related news, features and advertisements appearing in print, electronic and social media during the run up of polls. Mr. Sibin C said that the committee will be responsible for certification of advertisements, monitoring of news in print, social and electronic media along with keeping records of all election-related news of candidates in the fray.


The Chief Electoral Officer said that the constitution of these committees have a huge significance as they will help in effective monitoring and accounting of the poll-related expenditure incurred by the candidates. He also asked the DPROs to ensure that the committee members verify the advertising contents sought to be published by political parties, the candidates or their supporters before releasing them to the media. Mr. Sibin C reiterated the commitment of the Election Commission to ensure free, fair and peaceful Lok Sabha polls in the state adding that any violation of the model code of conduct by political parties would also be monitored, he added.


The Chief Electoral Officer said that the DPROs should combat the new challenge of advertisement on social media platforms deftly and no stone should be left unturned for it. He said that in today’s era Social Media has transformed into a major tool for information dissemination due to which special thrust must be laid on scrutiny of these platforms. Mr. Sibin C expressed hope that the DPROs will discharge their duty smoothly and act as a pivotal in smooth and hassle free conduct of the polls.


The Chief Electoral Officer also asked the DPROs to maximize publicity and awareness about the SVEEP activities so that more and more voters, especially the first time voters are encouraged to cast their votes. He said that it is the need of hour to ensure that maximum participation of the voters is witnessed during the upcoming general elections. CEO said that elections are a festival of democracy and the commission is duty bound to ensure that maximum number of voters exercise their franchise during these polls. 


The meeting was attended by Joint CEO Sakkatar Singh Bal, Deputy Director (Social Media) Information and Public Relations Department Manvinder Singh and Social Media experts of the office of CEO.