Poll panel all set to snuff out paid news syndrome
In a bid to curb the menace of paid news in the media during the upcoming Assembly polls in the five states, the Election Commission has roped in senior academics, government information officials and even some journalists to keep tabs on the media houses and their poll coverage.
Those made members of the Media Certification and Monitoring Committees (MCMC) in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Mizoram and Delhi include journalism professors, information officers from the Central services and senior journalists. And the committees would monitor political advertisements on the TV channels as well as political analyses and flag instances of paid news in both the electronic and print media.
In Rajasthan, the Chief Electoral Officer has included Indian Information Service officer Ritu Shukla in the MMCC to deal with the advertisements of the political parties and the contesting candidates.
And in Madhya Pradesh, the Chief Electoral Officer has included Doordarshan Joint Director Manish Gautham in the committee. In Chhattisgarh, five professors of journalism and mass media from the Kushabhau Thakre University of Journalism in Raipur have been engaged by the EC.
As far as Delhi is concerned, Nitesh Jha, Assistant Director in the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP) has been included in the MCMC. As per the EC guidelines, an independent citizen or journalist nominated by the Press Council of India should be included in the MCMC.
“If the Press Council is not providing names to be included in the Committee,the CEO may himself appoint either an independent senior citizen or journalist, who is willing and who, in the opinion of the CEO, is eligible in terms of background and (has a) record of neutrality,” it says. The Press Council had not nominated any one for inclusion as members in the MCMC in the five states. Hence, the EC had taken the decision themselves and constituted the MCMC.