The Election Commission of India (ECI) has instructed all political parties and candidates to obtain “clearance” from the media certification and monitoring committee (MCMC) before publishing any advertisements in the print media on the day of voting and a day beforehand in response to complaints regarding “unverified” claims in political advertisements.
In a letter dated May 7 to the political parties, it was stated that “no political party, candidate, or any other organisation or person shall publish any advertisement in the print media on election day and one day prior to election day, unless the contents of political advertisement are got pre-certified by them from the MCMC committee at the State/District level, as the case may be.” On Sunday, ECI also held all of the state's main local newspapers accountable for everything, including any adverts that were run in their publications.
In a letter, the ECI said, “An editor shall be responsible for all matters, including advertisements, published in the newspaper.” It cited the Press Council of India's standards for journalistic behaviour. If accountability is denied, this must be made clear up front.
Political parties were informed that the commission had previously been alerted to instances of offensive and deceptive ads appearing in print media.
Such commercials during the last round of voting, according to ECI, “vitiate the entire election process.”
The poll commission emphasised the need of a “clean and serious” campaign in its advice to the parties, which is scheduled to finish on Monday for the Karnataka assembly elections.
Voting for the 224-member Karnataka legislature will take place on May 10, and results will be tallied on May 13.