Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Nagaland, Abhijit Sinha on Monday held a meeting with the representatives of the media houses in the State in the conference hall of Kohima Deputy Commissioner’s office.
The meeting was with regard to the provision of Section 127 A of the R P Act 1951 instruction of Election Commission of India (ECI) on advertisement and paid news and the guidelines issued by ECI, Press Council of India (PCI) and News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) on media related issues concerning the upcoming Assembly election.
Nagaland goes to poll on February 27 next along with Meghalaya. Counting will be held on March 3 next.
The CEO said any advertisement on political nature has to obtain pre-certification from concerned authorities.
He also apprised that Media Certification and Monitoring Committees (MCMC) have been set up at district levels and also at state level.
To deal with the menace of ‘paid news,’ a mechanism has been devised with three tier media certification and monitoring committees at district, state and ECI level, Sinha added.
The EC vide its Order No 491/media Policy/2015/Communication, dated 28th May 2015, decided that bulk SMSs/voice messages on phone and in election campaigning shall be in the purview of pre-certification of election advertisements as in case of all electronic media/TV channels/cable network/radio including private FM channels, cinema halls/audio-visual displays in public places and political advertisement in social media.
Any political content in the form of messages/comments/photos/video being posted/uploaded on the blog/self-accounts on website/social media website will not be treated as political advertisement and therefore would not require pre-certification.
However, political advertisements issued in e-papers of any newspaper shall invariably require pre-certification by the concerned committee, the state CEO added.
If the advertisement is with the consent or knowledge of the candidate, it will be treated to have been authorized by the candidate(s) concerned and will be accounted for in the election expenses account of the candidate(s), he further said.
If the advertisement is not with the authority of the candidate, then action may be taken for prosecution of the publisher for violation of Section 171 H of IPC- (incurring expenditure on advertisement without written authority from the candidate(s) concerned), Sinha warned the media houses.