The Election Commission has issued a fresh set of guidelines on the model code of conduct for the media ahead for the Karnataka Assembly Elections 2018.
A statement released by the Election Commission states that a high level committee constituted in January, 2018 will study and examine the present provisions of the Section 126 of Representation of the People Act, 1951 and will identify difficulties or critical gaps to regulate the violation of the said provisions of the act, particularly during the prohibitory period of 48 hours and suggest necessary amendment or modification.
The Commission said that the election campaign along communal or caste lines is banned under the election rules. Hence, the Press should eschew reports, which tend to promote feelings of enmity or hatred between people on the ground of religion, race, caste, community or language.
During elections, the EC prohibits TV channels in the telecast of their panel discussions or debates and other news and current affairs programmes, displaying any election matter by means, inter alia, of television or similar apparatus, during the period of 48 hours before the hour fixed for conclusion of poll in a constituency.
Violation of the aforesaid provisions of Section 126 is punishable with imprisonment upto a period of two years, or with fine or both, the Commission also said.
TV/Radio channels and cable networks should ensure that the contents of the programme broadcast by them during the period of 48 hours referred to in Section 126 do not contain any material, including views/appeals by panelists/participants that may be construed as promoting/prejudicing the prospect of any particular party or candidate(s) or influencing/affecting the result of the election. This shall, among other things include display of result of any opinion poll and of standard debates, analysis, visuals and sound-bytes.
It will be the duty of the Press to give objective reports about elections and the candidates. The newspapers are not expected to indulge in unhealthy election campaigns, exaggerated reports about any candidate/party or incident during the elections.
In practice, two or three closely contesting candidates attract all the media attention. While reporting on the actual campaign, a newspaper may not leave out any important point raised by a candidate and make an attack on his or her opponent.
The Press shall not accept any kind of inducement, financial or otherwise, to project a candidate/party. It shall not accept hospitality or other facilities offered to them by or on behalf of any candidate/party, the guidelines also state.
|Karnataka Assembly Election dates|
|Date of notification||April 17|
|Last date to file nominations||April 24|
|Last date to withdraw nominations||April 27|
|Date of polling||May 12|
|Date of counting||May 15|