Publicity on TV, radio 48 hrs before voting banned

New Delhi;  Any politician may get a notice from Election Commission (EC) and may even have to go to jail for two years if his comments arguing in favour of him or his party is aired by a TV channel during 48 hours before the end of polling for Assembly elections in Karnataka on May 12.  

The ban on airing any content, which might influence the voters, on TV and radio channels during the 48 hours before the conclusion of polling will remain in force, the EC has clarified.

All electronic media advertisements, except the bulk SMS, IVRS and social media are banned for broadcasting during the last 48 hours ending with poll. Advertisements for bulk SMS, IVRS and social media will be certified by State-level and District-level Media Certification and Monitoring Committee.

The EC stated that all the provisions of the Representation of People’s Act, 1951 should prevail and will be binding for all during Assembly polls. The EC issued the clarification to dispel any doubt over applicability of the Act as it had in January constituted a Committee to give a re-look to Section 126 of the law.

Section 126 prohibits displaying any election matter on TV during the period of 48 hours ending with the hour fixed for conclusion of poll in a constituency. The “election matter” has been defined in the Section as any matter intended or calculated to influence or affect the result of an election.

It had constituted a Committee to study the present provisions of Section 126 and identify difficulties or critical gaps to regulate the violation of the Act, particularly during the prohibitory period of 48 hours. As per the guidelines, the ongoing campaigning would end 48 hours prior to tthe pollingdate.

Subsequently, all the political leaders, functionaries or party workers who are not the registered voters will have to vacate the constituency within this period.

The EC has directed the election and Police administration to keep a close check on the community centres, guest houses and lodges so that the outsiders, if any, could be kept housed without causing any disturbance during the electoral process.

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