The Telegraph
Friday , March 21 , 2014
CIMA Gallary

Tweet turf under lens

Call it social democracy of a different kind.

Candidates eyeing the 2014 Lok Sabha pie will have to furnish their Facebook and Twitter accounts, besides email ID and bank details, at the time of filing their nomination papers with respective returning officers.

While financial details help determine whether a prospective neta is a hoarder or a tax rogue or both, these social networking profiles will expose whether the wannabe MPs are violating the model code of conduct by indulging in paid online advertisement or garnering support through unfair means.

The email accounts, on the other hand, are meant for netbanking vigil and other correspondences.

The returning officer will issue every candidate a separate form, where he or she will pen down his or her social life for perusal. For bank details, the nomination paper already includes a designated column.

A Ranchi official said a 50-member media certification and monitoring committee (MCMC) team was working on these special instructions at the district collectorate since Wednesday.

“The members — who are primarily supposed to monitor television and FM channels, besides newspapers, round the clock — have now been directed to minutely watch social networking sites too. They will have to ascertain whether information being spread through the Internet is paid or not. Also, they will gauge whether any information has the potential to disrupt harmony. Spreading communal messages among voters is strictly prohibited,” the official said.

District election officer and deputy commissioner Vinay Kumar Choubey confirmed that candidates using Facebook, Twitter and emails would have to furnish account details.

“An MCMC team has been deputed to monitor the Internet and social sites. If it finds that Facebook or Twitter or the email is being used for paid advertisement, it will record the same and send it for accounting purpose. In fact, this first-of-a-kind exercise will serve more than one purpose,” Choubey kept a hint of mystery.

Will monitoring the social life of candidates stop them from using unfair means?