The Journalists Union of Assam (JUA) has expressed strong dismay over the ‘apparent complicity’ of a number of leading daily newspapers in Assam in publishing an advertisement of the ruling BJP on March 28 in the ‘disguise of a news headline’  on the top of page 1.

The headline (advertisement) stating “BJP to win all constituencies of Upper Assam ” was so placed on top of the leading news stories on page 1 so as to give a false impression of being a news item, JUA said in a statement on Tuesday.

The advertisement was obviously meant to mislead the electorate in the coming two phases of the Assembly polls, said the scribes’ body.

“By publishing the advertisement in the guise of a headline the newspapers in the State have compromised on their integrity, neutrality and independence. They owe an explanation and apology to the readers and the general public of Assam,” it added.

The JUA also condemns the ruling BJP for trying to ‘derail democracy’ by resorting to unethical methods.

The BJP has not only insulted the people of Assam but has also violated the ban on exit polls after March 27, the JUA alleged.

The JUA urged the Election Commission to take strong penal measures on both the erring newspapers and the BJP.

Earlier on March 28, the Congress had filed a complaint against Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, party president J P Nadda and state unit chief Ranjeet Kumar Dass along with eight leading newspapers, which published on Sunday an advertisement in the format of newspaper headlines.

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