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Paid news undermining democracy: Haryana CEO

Thursday, 4 September 2014 - 5:01pm IST | Place: Chandiga | Agency: PTI

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The issue of increasing cases of paid news is undermining democracy in the country, Haryana Chief Electoral Officer Shrikant Walgad said on Thursday.

During the recent Lok Sabha elections, 41 cases of paid news were reported in the state, of which 25 were confirmed and forwarded to Election Commission for further action, he said while addressing a media workshop on paid news.

Noting that issue of paid news was acquiring serious dimensions, Walgad said it was matter of concern as rise of such cases undermines Indian democracy. "The cases of paid news generally manifest in form of news articles or reports published about a particular candidate or a party eulogizing them, or similar news articles or reports denigrating the opponents, both intended at unduly influencing the voters..." he said.

"According to the guidelines issued by the Press Council of India, newspapers are not expected to indulge in unhealthy election campaigns, exaggerated reports about any candidate or party or incident during the elections," he said. Walgad said those candidates who do not go along with such practices on the part of media organizations might be denied coverage.

On the issue of SMSes being used to violate provisions of Election Law and ECI's directions, the Haryana CEO said police should advertise special mobile numbers on which such messages could be forwarded by the receiver for further investigation and action. 

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