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Show cause notice to 3 media companies for publishing voter survey

FE Online
IANS, Pre Poll Survey, Election Commission, IANS, Economic Times, Swaraj Express, Swaraj Mass Media

Lok Sabha Election 2019: Election Commission has taken a serious note of some media companies publishing voter’s survey before the completion of polling process on May 19. The poll panel has served notices to three media houses, including news agency IANS, for broadcasting an election survey before the completion of voting process.

In a statement, election commission said that it had received complaints that three media houses had published poll surveys predicting Lok Sabha Election results in violation of its advisory.

ECI has sought explanation from these media houses namely IANS India Pvt Ltd, Economic Times & Swaraj Mass Media as to why action should not be taken against them for violation of provision of section 126A of RP Act. Response within 48 hours of the receipt of letter has been called by ECI, said the apex poll body in a statement.

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On Monday morning, Indo Asian News Service (IANS) has tweeted a purported survey conducted by ‘some independent psephologists’ which was shared in social media and also carried by some media houses.

What is the law?

Section 126A of the Representation of People Act of 1951 prohibits broadcast and publication of opinion polls and exit polls from the time of beginning of poll process for the first phase till half an hour after the time fixed for close of voting process for the last phase in all states.

In order to ensure compliance with the provisions of RP Act of 1951, the commission had also issued an advisory to media houses two days before the start of voting process on April 11, asking the media to refrain from publishing election surveys in any manner. In fact, the apex poll panel had also barred the broadcast of astrologer’s predictions.

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ECI issued advisory last month

In its advisory the poll panel had said: “The Commission is of the view that prediction of results of elections in any form or manner by way of predictions etc by astrologers, tarot readers, political analysts or by any persons during the prohibited period is violation of the spirit of Section 126A (of the Representation of the People Act) which aims to prevent the electors of constituencies still going to polls from being influenced in their voting by such predictions about the prospects of the various political parties.”

In this connection, attention is also invited to Section 126A of the R.P. Act 1951, which prohibits conduct of Exit poll and dissemination of its results during the period mentioned therein, i.e. the hour fixed for commencement of poll in the first phase and half an hour after the time fixed for close of poll for the last phase in all the states, the commission had said in its advisory issued last month.

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