Paid news should be made an electoral offence: EC

New Delhi, March 5: The Election Commission has suggested to the government that paid news be made an electoral offence.

At a press conference to announce the Lok Sabha poll schedule here, Chief Election Commissioner V.S. Sampath said paid news has three aspects – print media, electronic media and expenditure by candidates.

“Since there is no law (to deal with paid news), we have made a proposal to the law ministry to make it an electoral offence,” he said.

Meanwhile, the commission will deal with the issue by keeping a close watch on the expenditure by the candidates, he said.

“The Election Commission is doing what is under its control. We have monitoring committees in districts and states. We add the expenditure to the expenditure account of the candidate concerned,” Sampath said.

With regard to complaints about paid news in print media, he said the cases were referred to the Press Council of India.

As far as complaints regarding paid news in electronic media were concerned, such cases are referred to the National Broadcasters Association (NBA), he said.

On demands for banning opinion polls, the CEC said it is for parliament to decide.

“We never hesitate to use powers where we can. However, the issue of opinion polls is to be dealt with by the lawmakers. They have the legislative competence,” he added.

IANS