Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: Keeping in mind the likely impact of social media on the forthcoming General Elections, the Election Commission on Friday laid down guidelines to regulate campaigning on Wikipedia, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube etc.
As per the instructions, candidates will have to give information about their authentic social media accounts. Meanwhile, all political parties have been asked to get their advertisements certified before posting them on social media websites.
The guidelines further say that no political advertisements shall be released on any Internet-based media or websites by political parties and candidates without pre-certification from competent authorities.
Every candidate and political party shall submit a statement of expenditure on election campaign through any advertisement in social media, say the guidelines.
The Commission has cleared that the model code of conduct, in place during the elections in respect of political parties and candidates, shall also apply to the content being posted on the Internet, including social media websites, by candidates and political parties.
However, as far as content posted by people other than candidates and political parties are concerned, the commission said it was consulting the Ministry of Communications and IT to find ways to deal with the issue.
The Commission`s move came in the wake of certain violations of the Electoral Law in the social media, "which need to be regulated in the interest of transparency and level playing field in the elections."
According to the Election Commission, "prevalence of Web and social media has increased over the years and there have been demands from political and social groups to regulate the social media during elections as other media is regulated".