Media, politicians to face action for surrogate advertisements

April 9th, 2009 - 5:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, April 9 (IANS) The district administration will file criminal complaints against media organisations if they are found carrying surrogate advertising for political parties in violation of the model code of conduct, an official said here Thursday.
“We will keep a strict watch for surrogate advertising in all forms of the media this time round,” North Goa district collector K.S. Singh told IANS.

It is the candidate’s responsibility to prove that a surrogate advertisement published or broadcast in the media was not directly or indirectly commissioned by him or her.

“Unless the candidate states in writing that he or she has nothing to do with a particular surrogate advertisement published or broadcast in his or her favour, the cost of the advertisement would be accorded to the candidate’s election expense account,” Singh said.

Each Lok Sabha poll candidate has been allowed to spend Rs.1.4 million on campaigning.

During the assembly elections in June 2007, most local newspapers were flush with advertorials published in favour of candidates a few days before the state went to the polls.

Singh said he would not hesitate in filing a first information reports (FIR) against an erring media house if it violates the model code of conduct and fails to disclose the exact amount of money received for publishing political advertisements, both surrogate and conventional.

“We will call for information from all sources. If they do not co-operate, we will be forced to file an FIR against the management,” Singh said.

Eighteen candidates are contesting the general elections from the two Lok Sabha constituencies in Goa April 23.

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