Television

Media houses warned against publicising exit polls

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MUMBAI: The Election Commission, noting violation by media houses of its fiat, has recommended them to keep away from publicising exit polls till a particular period during assembly elections in five states. EC asked the media not to air or publish such programmes in future so as to ensure fair polls.

The strongly-worded advisory stated that "such attempts merely to score brownie points against the competitors for merely commercial reasons do not behove well."

In a letter to the News Broadcasters Association secretary-general and the Press Council of India secretary, the EC asked the print and electronic media to keep away from publicising exit polls or predictions about future poll triumphs.

In the crucial advisory, the Commission has stated that use of astrology to bypass the ban on exit polls is not permitted. The advisory states that forecasts by political analysts or astrologers or tarot card readers is banned during the poll process. The media cannot publish or telecast any programme that predicts the poll outcome, the EC advisory read.

The poll watchdog pointed to Section 126 A of the Representation of the People Act which states that "no person shall conduct any exit poll and publish or publicise by means of the print and electronic media or disseminate in any other manner, whatsoever, the result of any exit poll during such period as may be notified by the Election Commission..."

It pointed out that in one of the channels, the panellists on the show, who were persons from different fields, had put forward the projected number of seats likely to be won by different parties in Uttar Pradesh.

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