10-day clearance period for ads a no-no: Political parties

NEW DELHI: The Election Commission is under pressure from various political parties, including the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), to reduce a 10-day clearance period being toyed by the Commission to clear any material that is supposed to go on air.

"If any material that is go as a paid advertising on television channels has to be cleared by the EC 10 days before its actual telecast date, then where would be the time to air such material?" retorted a senior leader from BJP, adding that on 18 April campaigning anyway has to come to an end, adding that there is not enough time left to "adhere to this 10-day clearance period that the EC is talking about."

Despite being backed by the Supreme Court, the Election Commission is in a bind over the issue of political advertising on the electronic medium as some of the big political parties, especially the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, have expressed their reservation on the 10-day clearance period.

In a bid to come up with a solution, the EC has called for an all-party meeting tomorrow to discuss, amongst other issues, the matter of political advertising too as mandated by the Supreme Court.

EC sources told indiantelevision.com that meetings have been held in the commission, till quite late in the evening, to come up with some solution or a compromise formula that would satisfy the political parties, the Supreme Court and the populace, in general, as well.

EC sources did also admit that if the political parties push hard for it, then the possibility of reducing the 10-day clearance period could be explored. But that could be done on the condition or promises from the parties that they would not indulge in indecent political campaigning or advertising that would make EC's job that much more difficult.

The EC, anyway, has been trying to wriggle out of a situation where it would be saddled with the responsibility of monitoring political ads-something that has happened now with the Supreme Court directing so.

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