EC extends advisory on defence photos
The Election Commission of India has extended its instructions against use of images of defence personnel for political advertisements to other forms of propaganda, including social media platforms.
In an advisory sent to all national and state parties on Tuesday, the poll panel advised the parties, candidates and campaigners to “desist, as part of their election campaigning, from indulging in any political propaganda involving activities of Defence forces”.
Earlier this month, the election commission had reiterated for “strict compliance” its 2013 advisory against the use of photographs of “defence personnel by political parties” for “election propaganda”.
The commission’s move had come after retired Admiral L. Ramdas complained that the BJP had put up posters with images of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman who was released by Islamabad after his fighter jet was shot down over Pakistani airspace last month.
Delhi BJP MLA O.P. Sharma has been sent a showcause notice for using Abhinandan’s image on social media.
On Tuesday, the poll panel also met representatives of social media platforms and the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI). They included executives from Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Google, ShareChat, TikTok (a media app for creating and sharing short videos) and BigoTV who discussed ways to create a notification mechanism for violations under Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act.
“(The) IAMAI and Social Media intermediaries willingly agreed to come up with a ‘Code of Ethics’ for the Industry laying down operational details by tomorrow evening,” the poll commission said in a statement after the meeting.
The Lok Sabha elections are scheduled to begin on April 11 and will continue till May 19. The votes will be counted on May 23.