No uncertified advertisements during silence period: EC to parties


NEW DELHI: No party or candidate shall publish any advertisement in the print media on poll day and one day prior without clearance from the media certification and monitoring committee, the Election Commission said on Sunday in an advisory ahead of the 10 May voting in Karnataka. Campaign for the Karnataka assembly elections is set to end at 5 pm P5 on Monday. In the advisory to political parties, the poll authority also emphasised on “clean and serious” campaign as electioneering reached feverish pitch in the southern state. It noted that advertisements of offending and misleading nature vitiate the entire election process. On complaints against advertisements in the media, the Commission said national parties and star campaigners were duty bound to adhere to the expected standards of campaign discourse. In a separate letter to editors, the Election Commission (EC) made it clear to them that the Press Council of India’s norms for journalistic conduct hold them responsible for all matters, including advertisements, published in their newspapers. “If responsibility is disclaimed, this shall be explicitly stated beforehand,” the Commission said in a letter to editors of newspapers in Karnataka. The advisory to political parties stated that advertisements on the election day and one day prior to the poll day will have to be pre-certified by the media certification and monitoring committee (MCMC). “No political party or candidate or any other organisation or person shall publish any advertisement in the print media on poll day and one day prior to poll day unless the contents of political advertisement are got pre-certified by them from the MCMC at the state/district level, as the case may be,” the advisory stated. The advisory also asked political parties and candidates to apply to the MCMC two days prior to the proposed date of publication of advertisement on poll day and one day prior to poll day. The Commission said that instances of advertisements of offending and misleading nature published in the print media have been brought to the notice of the Commission in the past. “Such advertisements in the last stage of the election vitiate the entire election process. The affected candidates and parties will not have any opportunity of providing clarification/rebuttal in such cases,” the Commission said. As the campaigning for the May 10 elections reached a fever pitch with politicians hurling barbs such as “poisonous snake”, “vishakanya” and “nalayak beta” at each other, the Election Commission on May 2 issued an advisory asking political parties and their star campaigners to exercise caution and restraint in their utterances and not to vitiate the election atmosphere.
The Commission said it had received requests to extend the pre-certification deadlines, but has refrained from taking such a step given the shortness of the campaign period. The campaigning for the Karnataka assembly poll ends at 5 pm on Monday. Forty-eight hours before the end of polling are considered the silence period. The Commission reiterated that the instructions of a clean and serious campaign discourse should be understood and maintained by all stakeholders at all times during the campaign period, regardless of the timeline of pre-certification for advertisement in print media.