EC against paid news, asks parties not to make false promises

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Kolkata, Mar 3: The Election Commission has warned of stern action against ‘paid news’ during the coming Assembly elections in West Bengal and asked political parties to avoid making false promises or exert undue influence on the voters in exercising their franchise.

“The EC will monitor reports of paid news very seriously and initiate criminal action against those who resort to the abhorrent practice,” Additional Chief Electoral Officer Dibyendu Sarkar said at a media workshop here on Wednesday.

Bribing newspapers and journalists is a corrupt practice. It also seeks to influence the minds of voters in a misleading manner, Sarkar said adding, actions could be taken under the Representation of the People Act, 1950.

“In the interest of transparency, level playing field and credibility of promises, it is expected that manifestos also reflect the rationale for the promises and broadly indicate the ways and means to meet the financial requirements for it,” Sarkar said quoting the election ‘Model Code of Conduct.’

Speaking about various other steps taken by the poll panel, Sarkar said the Commission has launched a mobile-based software ‘Samadhan’ which could be used by voters or candidates to lodge poll-related complaints.

Besides, the Commission has also developed another app ‘Suvidha’ to help candidates seeking permission for holding meetings and using vehicles, Sarkar added.

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