Now, politicians are always trying to reach people thorough media, especially through electronic one, and, thereby, creating a trend not acceptable to a healthy society, viewed Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) trustee Dr Vipul Mudgal at a media workshop on “Free, Fair Elections and The Fourth Estate” held here on Tuesday.

Mudgal said that the political candidates, as per the Supreme Court orders, should declare their educational qualifications, assets and criminal cases pending against them, but instead of doing that, they are flattering themselves in TV channels in violation of election ethics. Hence, common voters are being misled.

“As per the Supreme Court, the voters should have an informed choice when all data regarding candidates are provided to them” he said.

Pointing out that the media world has changed in last 10 years, Mudgal said the media organisations should be aware about the three important aspects i.e, paid news, fake news and hate speech, which are directly related to elections.  It is disappointing that politics is being mediatised now, he said.

He also said the scribes’ associations like Press Club can pass a resolution that they are against the paid news and can move to court and take other legal actions.

Odisha Election Watch (OEW) member and former Doordarshan Director Baikuntha Nath Panigrahi said voters should be sensitized for free and fair elections. He said each voter should exercise his franchise and vote for the right person of his choise.

Joint Chief Electoral Officer Raghuram R Iyer said as per the Supreme Court guideline the Election Commission of India has set up a Media Certification System, especially for electronic media, for publishing a matter of a political party in the country.

He said a three-member Media Certification Monitoring Committee has also been formed to certify broadcast materials of political parties.

Among others, Odisha Election Watch coordinator Ranjan Kumar Mohanty,     OEW core team member and former Chief Secretary Sahadev Sahoo and Dr Seba Mohapatra spoke on the occasion.

The workshop was organised by the Odisha Election Watch in association with the ADR and PECUC.

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