Social media intermediaries and the internet and mobile association Tuesday told the Election Commission that they would come up with a draft ‘code of ethics’ for the industry in the next 24 hours as part of a mechanism to prevent abuse of social media platforms during the Lok Sabha elections beginning April 11.
Representatives of Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and TikTok, were called by the poll panel to discuss the issue of evolving mechanism to prevent abuse on social media platforms. The EC also wanted to ensure that elections are insulated from outside influence.
A statement issued by the EC said the meeting also discussed 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.
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.
Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora referred to the model code of conduct and urged social media representatives to come up with a code similar to it. He said the code would be used for the ongoing election process in the “immediate context” and would be a lasting document in the long run.
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, the statement said.
Sources later said the Commission insisted that no intermediary should allow political advertisements without the prior approval of certification committees set up in districts.
It was of the view that IMAI should coordinate with intermediaries to periodically monitor cases of violation.