NEW DELHI: The world has gone digital and so has the Indian political system. With more and more political parties using social media for election campaigns, the election commission (EC) has now directed the chief electoral officers of all states and union territories that details of the social media accounts of the candidates (besides the recognised political parties) who are contesting elections have to be communicated to the commission.
Candidates and political parties will now have to keep the EC posted about their social media accounts and websites used for campaigning, expenditure incurred for maintaining the sites and development of advertisement. Besides, the model code of conduct will also become applicable on the social media.
According to the commission, a candidate having an account on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or even apps, has to update the commission with their email ids.
The EC has also stated that campaigning on the web will require pre-certification from competent authorities. No political advertisement can be released to any internet-based website, including social media sites without this pre-certification. This certificate is issued by the media certification and monitoring committees at the district and state level.
Not only this, candidates and political parties in the statement submitted to the EC have to include all expenditure incurred on advertisements on social media. This includes: payments made to internet companies and websites for carrying their advertisements, money paid for developing such content for the web, as well as salaries and wages paid to the workers employed to maintain the social media accounts.
The commission has also stated that the model code of conduct will be applicable to the content posted on the internet. However, the commission will consult the Communication and Information Technology Ministry on the content posted by persons other than the candidates and political parties.