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Nagaland: Stay away from fake and paid news, media told ahead of bye-polls

By Our Correspondent Updated: Oct 08, 2020 7:17 pm

Our Correspondent
Kohima, Oct. 8 (EMN):
Ahead of the forthcoming bye-elections to two Nagaland Legislative Assembly seats, office of the state’s chief electoral officer (CEO) has asked media houses to refrain from indulging in reporting fake news and publishing paid news. 

Media personnel must not indulge in such kind of paid news or fake news while reporting during the poll season, it warned.

Addressing a media awareness workshop with representatives of all print and electronic media operating in Nagaland on Thursday in Kohima, Deputy CEO Awa Lorin, said that the Election Commission had faced this sort of problems in the past and is trying to control it.

However, there is no definite measure to curb or check fake and paid news, he informed.

The commission has already made recommendations to make paid news an electoral offence by amending the Representation of People’s Act of 1951. But, the recommendation is still pending with the Ministry of Law, the official said. 

‘Fortunately or unfortunately in Nagaland, when it comes to paid news, it is not much of a problem,’ he said.

In fact, ‘till date, we do not have even a single reported case of paid news in print media,’ the officer added.

As for curbing the practice of paid news, he said that the Commission has appointed a Media Certification and Monitoring Committee (MCMC) at district and state levels for checking it. The committee will scrutinise all media outlets within its jurisdiction to identify political advertisement in the garb of news. It will also consider paid news cases referred to it by the expenditure observers.

For deciding cases of paid news, CEOs have to submit weekly report of all paid news cases to the Election Commission every week (on Friday) from the date of scrutiny of nomination.

The ECI will refer the cases to the Press Council of India and News Broadcasting Standards Authority respectively, for necessary action against the media house involved in the case, he informed.

Speaking on the challenges of identifying paid news, the officer said that there is no concrete evidence to support it and therefore it becomes very difficult to ascertain whether the news is paid.

He added that generally fake news happens on social media platforms. ‘The problem with fake news is that it is very difficult to trace its origin,’ he added.

Therefore, he advised media personnel to refrain from reporting news that are doing rounds on social media if not very sure of the source of origin.

By Our Correspondent Updated: Oct 08, 2020 7:17:58 pm