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EC issues advisory on telecasting exit polls

Date: 25 March 2019 Tags: Constitution, Bills & Laws

Election Commission of India (ECI) has issued advisory to media and other platforms (websites, social media) on various issue related to elections including publication of exit polls, publication of results etc. It includes prohibition display of any opinion poll and of standard debates, analysis, visuals and sound-bytes

Section 126A of Representation of People Act, 1951

The advisory has been issued in pursuance of Section 126A of Representation of People Act, 1951 which prohibits conduct of exit poll and dissemination of its results hour fixed

This legal provision prohibits displaying any election matter by means of television or similar apparatus, during period of 48 hours before hour fixed for conclusion of poll from commencement of polling in first phase and half hour after time fixed for end of polling for the last phase in all the states.

In this case, election matter is defined as any matter intended or calculated to influence or affect the result of an election. It also includes conducting exit polls and releasing its reults.

EC Advisory

  • Exit polls: can only be telecast after final phase of polling for Lok Sabha elections ending on May 19, 2019.
  • It is also applicable for Assembly elections in Arunachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim which are held along with Lok Sabha elections.
  • Prejudicing Content: TV, cable networks, radio channels, websites and social media platforms must ensure that contents of programmes published and telecasted during 48-hour period before end of polling in each phase does not contain any material, including views or appeals by participants that may be promoting or prejudicing prospect of any particular party or candidate as per Section 126 of RPA, 1951.
  • Violations: Any violation by broadcasters will be reported by EC to News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) and will be dealt with by NBSA under its regulations.
  • Results: News broadcasters should not to air any final or definite results until they are formally announced by ECI.
  • Moreover, such results should carry disclaimer that they are unofficial or incomplete or partial results or projections and should not be taken as final results.
  • Incitement of Violence and hatred: Political parties should not criticise other countries or make any verbal attack on any religion or community, use defamatory or obscene remarks or incite violence during broadcast time allocated in public broadcasting agencies.
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