Social media is said to play a key role in the assembly polls to be held this year, we have been seeing leader, people etc all turning on to social networking sites promoting, discussing and talking about the upcoming elections. Well till now they were free to use them any way they like, but now Election Commission has entered the social media ground and has announced certain guidelines for the political parties to be kept in mind while campaigning on the social media.
Election Commission has categorized social media under five heads which includes collaborative projects like Wikipedia, blogs and micro blogging sites like Twitter, content communities like YouTube, social networking sites like Facebook and virtual game-worlds e.g., apps.
The commission had said that legal provision on social media will remain same as applied on the other media.
Here are the guidelines given by the Election Commission of India to be followed by candidates on social media while campaigning:
1) The commission has asked the candidates to file affidavits in Form-26 at the time of filing of nominations. EC has also asked candidates to mention their email ID in it, if any, with details regarding their telephone number and the social media account, as Commission finds it necessary for the candidates to inform it regarding their authenticated social media accounts.
2) As social media is also called as electronic media by definition, so the commission has given the similar guidelines as its in context of electronic media i.e. prior launching advertisement campaign on televisions or cable networks, parties need to have a pre-certification from the Media Certification and Monitoring Committees at district and State advertisement along with other functions viz acting against Paid News etc. This applies for launching campaigns on the internet and other social media forums as well where the candidates had to take pre-certification from the concerned authorities.
3) Candidates are also asked to include all the expenditures incurred while advertising on the social media and internet in the statement of expenditure of elections which they need to submit to the ECI. This will include payments made to internet companies and websites for carrying advertisements and campaign related operational expenditure like content development, operational expenditure on salaries and wages paid to the team of workers employed by such candidates and political parties to maintain their social media accounts, etc.
Though commission has given guidelines for the candidates and the political parties, but it is yet to decide on the ways of dealing with the content which is being posted by the common people.
Iamwire Take: It would be interesting to see how Election Commission would deal with social media nuisance during the election time. As officially the campaigns would end on a stipulated date but how would government control tweets, posts, emails, websites advertising about parties and people even on the day of election, in all possibility from ‘Other USERS’ accounts. How would it impact political parties and candidates?
Further does government have right framework to estimate the money spend on advertisement on these mediums, to ensure compliance and enforce same.
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