Raj EC yet to frame laws for Social Media for LSG polls

Jaipur: With the dates for the upcoming local body elections likely to be announced anytime soon, the state Election Commission has still not sent a proposal to the state government to make amendments in the existing policies and has not even drafted such a policy yet.

Interestingly, the Election Commission of India and Election Department had drafted and practised the same during Assembly elections as well as General elections earlier.

Where is the gap?

The Commission’s Law talks about election process and other details, but it is silent about social media. The reason for this is that Commission has no policy on social media.

How can policy help?

If there is an explicit policy, Commission can launch a comprehensive campaign to increase voting in the local body and panchayat elections. It can undertake mass public awareness campaigns by involving media, private institutions, industries, corporate groups, banks, corporations and NGOs. At the same time, this policy can put a check on promotions by candidates on social media. Advertising costs on social media can be added to the candidate’s account.

Reason for miss?

The prime reason is the Commission is short of funds and has asked collectors to keep their spends on check and work in limited resources. Another reason is that Commission has its hands tied as for every work, it has to look upto state government. Moreover, apathy of officials also has an important role to play because such an amendment has not yet been considered nor has the proposal been sent to the government.

On the flip side, the ED on instructions of ECI has already done tasks such as mandatory certification of ads which ensures they are not spreading hatred, categorisation of social media, apps, mobile under electronic media, efforts to ensure there is no breach of code of conduct, compulsory certification of bulk SMS, not considering blog an ad, information pertaining to social media accounts need to be mentioned in Form 26.