No anonymous political hoardings during LS polls: ECI

New Delhi: The Election Commission of India (ECI) has cracked down on anonymous political hoardings while issuing directions for disclosure of publishers and printers on them for traceability and accountability.

The ECI on Wednesday directed all states and Union Territories to make it mandatory for all parties to clearly publish the identification of the printer and publisher on printed election-related material.

According to the ECI, the directions will be implemented on all political hoardings, ensuring accountability and transparency in the campaign communications.

The decision was taken by the Commission consisting of Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar, and Election Commissioners Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu after representations were received in the poll panel stating that in advertising spaces controlled by Municipal authorities, hoardings without the identity of the printer or publisher had been noticed.

The poll panel said that the Representation of the People Act, 1951, unequivocally prohibits the printing or publishing of election pamphlets, posters, placards, or banners without prominently displaying the name and address of the printer and publisher.

This requirement of disclosing the identity of publishers serves as a cornerstone for regulating campaign financing and fixing of responsibility in case content is found unbecoming of the framework of Model Code of Conduct or the statutory provisions, the ECI official added.

It may be recalled that CEC Rajiv Kumar highlighted addressing the issue of misinformation as one of the challenges, along with money and muscle power, for a level playing field.

With this directive, the Commission now has put the accountability on printers, publishers, licensees, contractors of Urban Local Bodies renting out outdoor advertising space for political advertisements published on outdoor media.

This is in continuation of the ECI’s recent advisory vide press note dated 02.04.2024 to editors of all newspapers to be cautious while publishing political advertisements in newspapers.

IANS

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