Election Commission gag order to election officers

EC circular asks officers to refrain from expressing political opinion on social media.

Kochi: The Election Commission has issued a circular warning officials engaged in poll duties to refrain from expressing their personal opinion on social media in support of any candidates or political outfits following such a case in Kozhikode.
“The post has come to our notice following complaints made by his colleague.

A strict warning has been issued to the particular official in the northern district since this is the first such case this time around. However, action will be taken upon violation of the direction henceforth and the circular in this regard was issued to all the district election officers,” Dr M. Beena, the additional chief electoral officer, told DC.

The direction asks all staff who are directly or indirectly engaged in election-related activities to refrain from airing their political opinion in public spaces including Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp citing that such activities “jeopardises the neutral nature of the election administration machinery”.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission has asked Doordarshan to stop broadcasting films of actors who are contesting elections during the period when the model code of conduct is in force. However, there will be no such restriction for the telecast of such films and commercial advertisements on other TV channels or cinema theatres.

“…(This is because) Doordarshan is run on public funds,” the direction read. Meanwhile, the Commission directed the state Cchief electoral officer to monitor the broadcast of TV programmes involving actors contesting polls to see whether there is any attempt by the actor to solicit vote during the course of his appearance.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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