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EC terms paid news as `moral turpitude`

Last Updated: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - 21:44

New Delhi: Terming paid news as "moral turpitude", the Election Commission ON Wednesday regretted that there is no law yet to define it.

"Paid news is an area we can ignore only at our peril. But there is no law to define it," Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath told an Interactive Workshop here.

According to the panel, paid news is a "complex menace" for elections since it relates to any news appearing in any media for a price in cash or kind as consideration.

It feels paid news seeks to circumvent election expenditure laws and ceiling, causing undue influence on voters which affects their Right to Information.

The Commission had launched a battle against paid news in 2010 and is seeking an amendment to the Representation of People Act to make it a punishable offence.

Sampath made it clear that the Commission does not subscribe to coercion in a democracy like compulsory voting.

"Measures have been taken by the Commission to encourage voters to cast their ballot and these should not be misunderstood as if they were championing the cause of one party or another.

"But that should not prevent us from what has to be done to ensure better turnout," he said, adding that the three- member panel did "not subscribe to coercion in a democracy like compulsory voting."

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - 21:44

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