The Press Council of India (PCI) has issued the guidelines for the media to give objective reports about the election and cautioned it against the phenomenon of paid news. The guidelines call for:
- Newspapers are not expected to indulge in unhealthy election campaigns, exaggerated reports about any candidate or party during the elections.
- PCI cautioned the press to eschew reports which tend to promote feelings of enmity or hatred between people on the grounds of region, religion, race, caste, community or language.
- The press should refrain from publishing false or critical statements in regard to the personal character and conduct of any candidate or in relation to the candidature or withdrawal of any candidate or candidature, to prejudice the prospects of that candidate in the elections.
- PCI cautioned against publishing unverified allegations against any candidate or party.
- Whenever the newspapers publish pre-poll surveys, they should take care to preface them conspicuously by indicating the institutions which have carried on such surveys, the individuals and organisations which have commissioned them, the size and nature of sample selected and the method of selection of the sample for the findings.
- PCI has also asked the media to guard against paid news which is defined as “any news or analysis appearing in any media (print & electronic) for a price in cash or kind as consideration.”
The PCI has also urged the authorities that rules and orders regulating the entry of the media persons to places of election should be notified and the cut-off date for applying for passes should be given due and advance publicity.