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Code Of Ethics

Draft Code Of Ethics For Social Media

Election Commission recently urged social media platforms including Google, Facebook and Twitter to develop a “Code of Ethics” for the election-related operational details within 24 hours.

About the Draft Code

  • EC suggested the platforms should consider incorporating deterrents like some punitive actions against users and adding “a clear clause” of voluntary agreement that would bind users to not “misuse social media platforms for election or political purposes.
  • The EC also suggested that the platforms should frame a code for the “immediate context” that can also become a “lasting document in the long run.”
  • Md evolving a ‘notification’ mechanism by social media platforms for acting upon the violations of Section 126 of R.P. Act, 1951 and preventing misuse of these platforms.
  • The issues of appointment of dedicated grievance channel for expeditious action by the organisations, pre-certification and transparency in expenditure of political advertisements were also taken up

Section 126 of the Representation of People Act

  • Section 126 of the Representation of People Act prohibits advertising and campaigning on TV and other electronic media during the silent period, which is 48 hours before the end of polling.

What is the Model Code of Conduct?

  • The Election Commission’s Model Code of Conduct is a set of guidelines issued to regulate political parties and candidates prior to elections. The rules range from issues related to speeches, polling day, polling booths, portfolios, content of election manifestos, processions and general conduct, so that free and fair elections are conducted.

When does the Model Code of Conduct come into effect?

  • According to the Press Information Bureau, a version of the MCC was first introduced in the state assembly elections in Kerala in 1960. It was largely followed by all parties in the 1962 elections and continued to be followed in subsequent general elections. In October 1979, the EC added a section to regulate the ‘party in power’ and prevent it from gaining an unfair advantage at the time of elections.
  • The MCC comes into force from the date the election schedule is announced until the date that results are out. The model code of conduct will come into force immediately when the state legislature facing the dissolution. This decision was taken from the poll-bound Telangana state legislature’s dissolution, where the TRS government in Telangana had prematurely dissolved the Assembly. Before that incident, MCC generally in-force when the dates are announced.Then an Election Commission directive that henceforth the guidelines would be implemented immediately after early dissolution of a Legislative Assembly.

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