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Election Commission Issues Advisory to Elevate Political Campaign Discourse

Election Commission Issues Directions to Political Parties for Responsible Use of Social Media

New Delhi: In light of observed violations of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) and existing legal provisions by political parties and their representatives on social media platforms during election campaigning, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has issued directives to ensure the responsible and ethical use of social media.

The Commission, in its latest announcement, has cautioned political parties against the misuse of artificial intelligence (AI) based tools to create deep fakes, which can distort information or propagate misinformation. Stressing the importance of upholding the integrity of the electoral process, the ECI has highlighted existing legal provisions governing the regulatory framework against the use of misinformation and impersonation through deep fakes.

Among the legal provisions cited are the Information Technology Act, 2000, the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021, and the Indian Penal Code. Additionally, the Commission has underscored the relevance of the Representation of People Act, 1950 and 1951, along with provisions of the Model Code of Conduct.

In its directions to political parties, the ECI has explicitly instructed them to refrain from publishing and circulating deep fake audios/videos, disseminating patently false or misleading information, posting derogatory content towards women, and using children in campaigns. Furthermore, parties are advised to avoid depicting violence or harm to animals in their social media content.

Parties have been mandated to promptly remove any objectionable content within three hours of being notified, take disciplinary action against responsible individuals within their ranks, report unlawful information and fake user accounts to respective social media platforms, and escalate persistent issues to the Grievance Appellate Committee under Rule 3A of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.

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