Local television news channel come under ‘paid news’ scanner

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MANGALORE: Even the local television news channels are under the lens as far as ‘paid news’ is concerned in the run up to May 5 elections to assembly. With Election Commission of India coming down on ‘paid news’, district election machinery has decided to take a strict view of anything that appears remotely as such, and issue notices to both the local TV news channels as well as the candidates concerned, district election officer Harsh Gupta has said.

With media certifying and monitoring committee on the job round the clock at the district information officer, Harsh Gupta told the officers concerned to scan the media and take note of any instance of paid news that they come across. “Take action in cases which you find are a violation of norms laid down in the model code of conduct,” Harsh Gupta, also the deputy commissioner instructed the returning officers of the eight assembly constituencies.

The committee debated at length instances where few local television channels sought to telecast interviews with local leaders as news, while other channels wanted to telecast the same as advertisement and had even submitted compact disc of the same to the authority. It also took note of the publication of photo caption news in leading dailies of candidates in the fray. Harsh Gupta also directed the officials to make a note of the same.

There is no scope for supporters, or well wishers of candidates contesting the polls to release advertisements seeking support for them either directly or indirectly. The committee which felt this is direct violation of law decided to issue show cause notice to those concerned and if no reply is forthcoming in 24-hours, add the advertisement cost to the expenditure of the candidate concerned. Legal action too would be initiated against the candidates.

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