The Election Commission on Saturday cautioned political parties over hate speeches and said it is closely monitoring social media posts to ensure clean assembly polls in five states. Political parties and their candidates must ensure that their supporters do not indulge in hate speeches and fake news, Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra said during a press conference to announce the election schedule for Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Punjab and Manipur.
“Strict watch on social media posts is being kept to ensure that election atmosphere is not vitiated,” he said. His remarks come against the backdrop of a raging controversy over hate speeches at a religious conclave in Haridwar where calls were given for violence against a particular community.
Chandra said all election management related news on all major national and regional news channels during the polls will be monitored vigorously. “If any untoward incident or violation of any law/rule is noticed, action would be taken immediately. Reports of monitoring would also be forwarded to the CEOs (chief electoral officers) concerned. Office of CEO will ascertain status on each and every item and file ATR (action taken report)/status report,” he said.
The commission, in a press note, said keeping in view increasing incidents of misuse of social media and menace of paid news, and as a result of the EC’s vigorous persuasion, major social media platforms have agreed to observe voluntary code of ethics formulated by them in March 2019. “These will be applicable in these elections as well as in other elections,” the poll authority said.