Lok Sabha elections

Guwahati, March 11, 2019:

It is widely believed that modern-day elections will be fought on the platforms of social media due to the wide reach and ease of accessibility of these platforms. But unfortunately, some miscreants use the platform of social media to spread ‘fake news’ and ‘propaganda’ that is meant to mislead the masses and as such, there is an increasing need to monitor these platforms during elections. As such, the Election Commission of India has issued social media guidelines for the candidates for the Lok Sabha election 2019.

According to the Election Commission (EC), the candidates will have to provide the details of their social media accounts while filing the nominations.

Addressing the media on Sunday, Chief Election Commissioner, Sunil Arora informed that all political advertisements on social media will need ‘pre-certification’. The EC has approached Google, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to verify all the political advertisements coming from various political parties.

Arora said that all the major social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, Google, WhatsApp and Share Chat are dedicated to accept only pre-certified political advertisements, sharing expenditure on it with the Election Commission (EC) and stick to the silence period that comes into effect 48 hours before the polls. The provisions of model code of conduct shall be applicable to the content to be posted on the social media by candidates and political parties.

The Commission will bring the bulk SMSes/Voice messages on phone and election campaigning through social media under the blanket of precertification of election advertisements like the electronic and radio advertisements.

A social media expert will also be made available in the district and state-level media certification and monitoring committees to ensure that no campaign materials are slipped out without inspection. The social media campaigning expenditure will be incurred within the limit of election expenditure. The payments made to the online ad agencies and websites for posting the advertisements and campaign for making creative content, salaries and wages paid to the employees engaged to maintain their social media account, will also have to be accounted for with the EC.

The election expenditure limit set by the EC is Rs 70 lakh for candidates contesting Lok Sabha elections, except in Arunachal Pradesh and Goa. The limit set for Sikkim is Rs 54 lakh.

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