Political parties cannot advertise on private properties; Panel monitoring contents of eight cable channels for code violation

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Deputy Commissioner of Dakshina Kannada Harsh Gupta said here on Sunday that no poll-related banners, buntings or any other publicity material of political parties can be displayed on private buildings.

Displaying such material will be a violation of the model code of conduct, he said.

Mr. Gupta told presspersons that if people had any misconception that private buildings had been exempted from displaying election publicity material of political parties it was not correct. Displaying such publicity material on private buildings would also amount to the violation of The Karnataka Open Places (Prevention of Disfigurement) Act, 1981.

Mr. Gupta said the Media Certification and Monitoring Committee, headed by him, was now monitoring the contents of eight cable television channels in the city round the clock to check if they are violating the code of conduct. Violations included airing of advertisements not scrutinised by the committee and telecasting paid news in the form of repeat telecast of interviews.

The telecast by each of the channels was being recorded round the clock, he said.

He said the committee was also monitoring the websites to know if there was any paid news or unaccounted advertisement.

Cases of violation

Mr. Gupta said the advertisements or campaign material should not have any contents abusing one’s caste, defaming the candidates personally without proof and materials instigating communal feelings.

The Deputy Commissioner said if the committee found any cases of violation of model code of conduct by the media such as publishing advertisements of political parties or campaign contents (repeated focus on the campaign by a particular candidate) it would issue a notice to such a media organisation.

The media organisation could challenge it before the State-level media certification and monitoring committee and could take it up with the Election Commission.

In response to a query, Mr. Gupta said the Election Commission would decide on which finger should be inked while voting.

He said the Election Commission was likely to take a decision in a day or two on transferring returning officers and assistant returning officers, who had been serving in the district for more than three years

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