Poll-ready: Social media majors, mobile cos to unveil own code

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 19, 2019 Published on March 19, 2019

Broad contours of framework will be laid down today

The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and social media intermediaries have agreed to come up with a “Code of Ethics” for the industry, the operational details of which will be laid down by Wednesday evening.

This has been stated in an official statement issued late Tuesday evening after a meeting between the Election Commission and representatives of various social media platforms and IAMAI on the use of social media ahead of the Lok Sabha Elections 2019.

Addressing the meeting, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora called on social media organisations to come up with a code similar to the Model Code of Conduct (MCC), which is followed by political parties and entities during the elections, for the ongoing election process and have a lasting document in the long run. Arora pointed out that the MCC is the outcome of consensus evolved amongst different political parties and ECI. “In fact, more often than not, this Code has obviated the need for application of more stringent provisions of law,” the statement said.

Curbing misuse

Ashok Lavasa, Election Commissioner, has suggested that a clear clause on users voluntarily agreeing not to misuse social media platforms for election or political purposes should be considered by the management. Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra reiterated that the role of the social media in helping the spread information as well as curbing misinformation cannot be underestimated, adding that deterrents like some punitive action against users misusing the platform should be considered proactively.

He further said that a participative approach of the social media platforms would greatly help the Commission in meeting its objectives.

The meeting focused on issues like appointing a dedicated grievance channel for action by the organisations, and pre-certification and transparency on money that political parties spend on advertisements. The meeting also focused on the platforms evolving a notification mechanism for acting on violation of Section 126 of the RP Act, 1951 and preventing misuse of the platforms.

Published on March 19, 2019
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