New Delhi: Political parties on Saturday favoured
amendment of electoral laws to treat "paid news" as a poll
malpractice, saying they are victims of such a syndrome.
"Paid news should be declared an electoral malpractice,"
CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat said at a seminar here
on the paid news syndrome organised by the Editors Guild of
India and the Indian Women`s Press Corps.
He felt a major hurdle in stopping this syndrome was that
there was no record of the money exchanged in the deal and
said those who paid money too should be held accountable.
Supporting him, senior BJP leader and Leader of Opposition
in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said since the Election
Commission was not adequately empowered to deal with the
issue, a bill should be introduced in Parliament to amend the
Act. The Model Code of Conduct does not cover the issue of
"It should be done. I endorse the suggestion," she said.
Recalling her experience while campaigning in Vidisha Lok
Sabha constituency in Madhya Pradesh, Swaraj said she was
offered a "package of Rs one crore by a media organisation" to
write news in her favour including photographs of her visit to
different places in her constituency.
She felt the phenomenon has become institutionalised over
the years and said her party was ready to name publications
which approached BJP for publishing news during elections.