Television

Election commission issues diktat on assembly poll coverage

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With polls to four states scheduled for next month, the Election Commission has issued a warning to television channels (including national broadcaster Doordarshan) to be impartial in their coverage and not to favour any one individual or political party.

The circular issued by the poll panel reportedly states: "A model code of conduct is established for television to ensure it is not misused but used in the best interest of democracy and the voter."

DD has been given a circular which states: "It is emphasised that being a public broadcaster all Doordrashan news and programme units should take extra care to ensure fair and balanced coverage of the political activities in the news bulletins and programmes. It should also be ensured that feeds to the New Delhi central newsroom are also fair and balanced.

The EC has instructed DD to ensure "adequate coverage to the Election Commission and the state electoral offices for the preparation of a fair poll."

Channels have been told to refrain from:

  • Coverage of speeches and material inciting communal violence.
  • A single candidate in any particular consituency must not be covered. Candidates from all known political outfits contesting in a constituency should be covered.

All producers should also record a copy of their programmes, the EC has said.

The states going to the polls are Punjab (13 February), Manipur (14 February, Uttaranchal (14 February) and Uttar Pradesh (two phases - 14 February & 18 February).

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