Report No. 255
(v) Media Certification and Monitoring Committee ("MCMC")
7.28.1. Due to the existence of multiple bodies like Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, PCI, ECI, various self regulatory bodies, etc., there is lack of clarity with regard to specific authority which would be the final authority in deciding a case of irregularity in this regard. Therefore, the PCI Report suggested a separate body to be set-up for monitoring paid news.
7.28.2. The ECI also adopted the recommendation given by the PCI Report to establish district level committees for monitoring paid news.273 The MCMC has officers from the Ministry of I&B and State Department of Personal Relations. The Expenditure Observer is duty-bound to inform to the MCMC of all instances of suspected Paid News on the same day as brought to his notice independently by any source. The political party or candidate shall have to submit the details of expenditure on the telecast or broadcast in electronic media and print media.
If the MCMC finds that any advertisement has been made in TV, Radio, Cable Network, FM Channel, in favour of any candidate without proper permission, they shall inform the Returning Officer (RO) immediately. The RO accordingly shall serve a notice upon the defaulting candidate. If the impugned paid news has not been accounted for in the election expense account, the RO will issue notice to the candidate with regard to the incidents of paid news in consultation with the Expenditure Observer for not showing the expenditure on such publication.274
273. No. 491/Paid News/2012/Media, 27th August, 2012,
274. Compendium of Instructions on Election Expenditure Monitoring, (January, 2014),
<http://eci.nic.in/eci_main/ElectoralLaws/compendium/compendium2014_03022014.pdf>, at para 4.2.1.
7.28.3. The ECI, in the Compendium of Instructions on Election Expenditure Monitoring issued in January, 2014 provides for the establishment of an efficient election expenditure monitoring mechanism by appointment of Expenditure Observers, Assistant Expenditure Observers, video Surveillance Team, video Viewing Teams, Institution of Expenditure Monitoring Cells, an MCMC in every district.275
275. Ibid. at para 3