Television

Editors Guild steps up tirade against paid news, urges EC to act

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NEW DELHI: The Editors Guild has urged the Election Commission to take strong action against candidates and mediapersons who violate the disclosure norms of election expenditure to gain media publicity.

A delegation from the Guild, led by president Rajdeep Sardesai, submitted a memorandum to the Commission, deploring the 'paid news' phenomenon. The memorandum cited several recent investigative reports which highlighted the prevalence of this dangerous practice, which threatened the foundations of journalism by eroding public faith in the credibility and impartiality of news reporting. It also vitiated the poll process and prevented a fair election, since richer candidates who could pay for their publicity had a clear advantage, the Guild pointed out.

Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla admitted that the EC did not have the mechanism to monitor the candidates in all 543 constituencies, but some random samples could be examined closely.

Election Commissioner SY Qureshi said Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan had been issued notice to reply by 1 February for allegedly paying publications for favourable publicity in the recent assembly election.

The Guild was represented by senior journalists Coomi Kapoor, Mannini Chatterjee and Seema Chisti.

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