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Press Council guidelines ahead of Karnataka elections

NEW DELHI: Ahead of the Karnataka elections, the Press Council of India on Tuesday advised the print media to follow the norms of journalistic conduct on paid news.

In advisories issued here, the Press Council of India (PCI) also cautioned against publication of any news that may appear to predict the results of the elections before the date of poll in Karnataka.

Noting that newspapers should not misconstrue or misquote the statements given by any leader, the PCI said the statements quoted in editorial should project the true spirit of what was being tried to be conveyed by them.

”Columns of news items which largely indicate names of voters on caste basis and supporters of the candidate of a particular political party, such tenor and manner of presentation of news establish the report to be paid news,” it said.

Political news published in competing newspapers with similar content strongly suggests such reports to be paid news. Two newspapers publishing the same news item verbatim during election days is not accidental and it is evident that such news items have been published for consideration. The manner of presentation of a news item/photograph that too in favour of a particular party/candidate as also the appeal for voting in favour of a particular party is suggestive of paid news, it said.

The Council said projecting a candidate’s success in election, who was yet to file a nomination, was also suggestive of paid news. News reports on campaign meetings and enthusiasm because film stars were present cannot be termed paid news.

”While covering news on the election, the newspapers are advised to ensure balance in publishing reports/interviews of candidates. During the course of election, subject to conditions laid down by the Election Commission of India, newspapers are free to make an honest assessment of prospects of candidates or the parties and its publication would not be paid news so long it is not established that consideration passed on for such publication,” the Council said.

Newspapers have also been told not to publish any news survey predicting the victory of any political party without verification of it.

”An attempt to influence the voters by projecting the contesting candidate with all virtues during the election is paid news. A news item giving the negative aspect of a candidate and at the same time the positive aspect of the candidate of other political party without any basis clearly shows that it is paid news,” the Council said. The Council also advised the Print media against publishing pr publicising any such news of results, during the period of 48 hours before the hour fixed for conclusion of poll in Karnataka.

Source: Press Trust of India

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