One might debate the influence of social media on the upcoming elections in the country but at the same time the medium is not being over looked to. When political parties and their party men are trying to actively put their agenda across on social networks, Election Commission of India is also planning to keep a close look on the campaigning activities via social media.
According to TNN, social media which had posed a new challenge for the ECI has decided to pitch in information technology experts, who would keep an eye on use of social media by political parties. Elaborating further on the move, Chief Election Officer Umesh Sinha shared that, “The idea is to ensure that political parties and candidates do not flout the model code of conduct by any means.”
Apart from tracking the cash flow being invested on social media by political parties, the ECI plans to keep a check on proxy profile. Sinha added that, “EC will decide if the content is violating model code of conduct. In case it does, it will be investigated and action will be taken accordingly. The EC will also keep watch on fake posts and profiles and would act after investigation.”
The IT experts that ECI plans hire for this monitoring work will help district level committee to check misuse of social media and to check illegal use of it for campaigning. Besides, the ECI would keep a watch that nothing objectionable is carried forward through social media. Any violation would be dealt with sternly and action would be taken as per the various IT Acts.
Recently, ECI also revealed that it has plans to bring social media into the ambit of paid news by cracking the whip on paid content circulated on social networking sites apart from restraining paid news items in print and electronic media. While the proposal is yet to get cleared, it is being referred as a required initiative to control the paid news for ensuring free and fair elections.
Earlier at the start of the year, the ECI had announced that any kind of social media advertisement carried out by contestants would be included in the election expenditure of the candidates. The decision was taken when the states like Meghalaya and Nagaland were about to witness elections.
A rational move but the execution will be the deciding factor especially now that the elections are knocking on the door.