CPI(M) against blanket ban on opinion polls
CPI(M) on Thursday opposed any blanket ban on opinion polls but said these should not be published for a "reasonable period" like from the date of notification till the date of polling.
New Delhi: CPI(M) on Thursday opposed any blanket ban on opinion polls but said these should not be published for a "reasonable period" like from the date of notification till the date of polling.
Maintaining that electors should be given a reasonable time to reflect on who or which party should be voted, it said such a decision would protect the voter "from being unduly bombarded by propaganda and thereby distorting his or her rational voting behaviour."
"In today`s India, when the scourge of `paid news` is on the rampage, the concept of freedom of expression and media freedom to disseminate objective news is gravely distorted to the extent that at times all objectivity of news is sacrificed at the altar of unscrupulous profit making.
"In such conditions, the scope for manipulation of opinion polls to unduly and wrongly influence the electorate is immense.
"Hence, reasonable restrictions on a particular freedom in this Indian context needs to be very seriously considered," senior CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said in an editorial in the latest issue of party organ `People`s Democracy`.
Under these circumstances, he said it was fair to suggest that "while there should be no blanket banning of opinion polls, this should not be published for a reasonable period, say, from the date of statutory notification of the election till the polls are completed.
"The length of this period, however, would have to be defined and announced by the Election Commission after serious consultations and deliberations," Yechury said.
He also came down heavily on BJP for changing its stand on the issue, saying in 2004 it had favoured ban on publication of opinion polls after the statutory notification for elections is issued.