No political ads must be carried on digital platforms 48 hrs before elections, says EC

Election Commission seeks legal amendments to bring the ban into effect before the general elections

elections

The Election Commission of India has sought amendments to prevent political ads being carried on social media and other digital platforms 48 hours before the general elections. 

The suggestion has come from a committee led by Senior Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha. The panel has suggested modifications in the provisions of Section 126 and other sections of the Representation of the People Act 1951, including provisions of the Model Code of Conduct.

A press statement issued by the EC said it has identified “difficulties/critical gaps to regulate the violation of the said provisions of the act, particularly during the prohibitory period of 48 hours before the completion of the poll and suggested necessary amendments.”

Section 126 of the Representation of People Act prohibits political advertisements from being carried by the electronic and print media before elections. The social media was out of the purview till now.

“This will help in minimising the possible interference of activities which aim at indirectly influencing voters during the valuable silence period of 48 hours provided to them,” the committee has said. 

It also pointed out how the print has web, social media and mobile versions which may carry different forms of electoral advertisements. 

The committee is said to have had consultations with Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube, Twitter and Google.

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