Election Commission issues guidelines for media coverage during 2024 general elections

The Commission warned against the publication of political advertisements masquerading as news headlines and speculative content predicting election outcomes.

By  Storyboard18Apr 3, 2024 9:39 AM
Election Commission issues guidelines for media coverage during 2024 general elections
The Election Commission drew attention to Section 126(1)(b) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, which prohibits the display of any election matter through television, cinematography, or similar means in any polling area during the 48-hour period preceding the conclusion of polling. (Image source: News18)

The Election Commission of India has released a set of comprehensive guidelines for media coverage during the upcoming General Elections to the Lok Sabha and Legislative Assemblies of Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha, and Sikkim in 2024. The election is scheduled to be held in multiple phases on April 19, April 26, May 7, May 13, May 20, May 25, and June 1.

The Election Commission drew attention to Section 126(1)(b) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, which prohibits the display of any election matter through television, cinematography, or similar means in any polling area during the 48-hour period preceding the conclusion of polling.

The Commission emphasized that during this period, media channels must refrain from telecasting or broadcasting any content, including panel discussions, debates, and news programs, that could influence or affect the election results. Violation of these provisions could result in imprisonment for up to two years or fines.

Additionally, the guidelines prohibit political advertisements on television, cable networks, radio, cinema halls, bulk SMS/voice messages, and audiovisual displays in polling areas during the 48-hour period before polling. The definition of ‘election matter’ includes any content intended to influence or affect the election outcome.

The Election Commission also reminded social media and digital media platforms of the provisions of the Information Technology Act, 2000, and the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, regarding political content on their platforms.

Print media outlets were advised to adhere to guidelines issued by the Press Council of India and norms of journalists' conduct during elections. Electronic media was directed to follow the ‘Guidelines for Election Broadcasts’ issued by the News Broadcasting Standards Authority.

The Election Commission urged all concerned parties to ensure compliance with the guidelines to maintain the integrity and fairness of the electoral process. Any political advertisements published in newspapers on the polling day or one day before must be pre-certified by the Media Certification and Monitoring Committee at the state/district level.

The Commission warned against the publication of political advertisements masquerading as news headlines and speculative content predicting election outcomes, emphasizing the responsibility of editors for all published content.


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First Published on Apr 3, 2024 7:13 AM

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