Poll monitoring goes hi-tech: EC to keep an eye on media to check paid news; social media not spared

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Mangalore, April 8, 2013, DHNS:

Smart phones to make election reporting procedure easy, says DC

The Dakshina Kannada district administration has found a new way to monitor election process in the district. By introducing smart phones for the first time in the State, the district administration is all set to make election reporting procedure easy for the supervising officials.

The smart phones installed with ‘Mobiles in Election Management’ application, are distributed to the sector magistrates and sector officers for speeding up the process of sending election related reports to the authorities concerned. The district administration has already distributed 24 such phones to sector magistrates which can be used for uploading polling station reports, cases of violation of model code of conduct, expenditure monitoring and polling day reports, Deputy Commissioner and District Election Officer Harsha Gupta told reporters on Sunday.

Furnishing details about the mechanism, he said the phone comes handy for the officers to capture photographs and record videos specially in case of violation of code of conduct. The administration has ordered for 160 additional smart phones to be distributed to the sector officers on the previous day of the polls. The filling of forms will be replaced by smart phones, thus considerably saving time. The authenticity of the details too will be ensured through geo co-ordinates which indicate the place of filing a particular detail.

However, the expenditure of additional phones will be borne by various departments like Health and Education, as the departments can utilise the phones for various administrative purposes even after the election, the DC said.

The district administration has planned to put smart phones into use for regular supervision of works on pilot basis in the district. These phones can be used by anganawadi supervisors, Auxillary Nurse Mid-wives and Block Education Officers to monitor the routine activities, Gupta added.

MCMC set up

The district administration has also developed a full-fledged Media Certification and Monitoring Committee cell to check the paid news cases in the assembly election. The cell set up at the district Information and Publicity Department office, consists of eight television sets to monitor the news and advertisements telecasted in the local TV cable channels, throughout the day. Apart from it, the TV channels, all the newspapers and magazines, bulk SMSs, social networking sites too will be monitored to scan the media for suspected paid news, the Deputy Commissioner said.As many as 24 new check posts will function in the district, once the Election Commission issues directions for the same. The district control room will always function (1077), receiving election related calls, complaints related to violation of code of conduct, he said.

Election Commission to keep an eye on media to check paid news

MANGALORE: Dakshina Kannada District Media Certification and Monitoring Committee set up as per Election Commission of India guidelines is on the job to check the menace of ‘paid news’ in the run up to elections to the state assembly on May 5.

A separate cell has been opened at the Vartha Bhavan of department of information where all TV news channels – local and state level – are monitored regularly to see whether advertisement or news content are aired to lure voters for a particular candidate. Deputy commissioner Harsh Gupta said contents aired by TV channels will be scrutinised by experts and the same will be reported to the monitoring committee if there is any violation of election code of conduct.

“TV channels and print newspapers are allowed to publish only those advertisements which are certified by the monitoring committee. Notices will be served to media organisations if norms are violated and action will be initiated under Representation of People Act after seeking explanation. Money spent on advertisements will be added to expenditure of the respective candidates,” Gupta said.

Advertisements of candidates appearing on websites will also be monitored by the committee, he said adding that candidates may convey messages through Facebook or any other social networking sites, which are free of cost.

He is a Software Engineer from Moodbidri currently living in Kuwait. He likes to travel and post interesting things about technology. He is the designer of Kannadigaworld.com. You may follow him on FB at fb.com/alanpaladka

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