“Code of Ethics” for online platforms during Elections in India

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The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and various social media organisations, at a meeting with the Election Commission on Tuesday, agreed to formulate a “Code of Ethics” for online platforms.

Details of the Code are expected to be laid down by Wednesday evening.

The meeting, which was attended by officials of the IAMAI, Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter, Google, ShareChat, TikTok and BigoTV, was held to review the steps being taken to identify and report electoral rule violations in the run-up to Lok Sabha polls.

Issues ranging from the setting up of a dedicated grievance channel for expeditious action, pre-certification and ensuring transparency in expenditure of political advertisements were taken up.

The officials also discussed about evolving a notification mechanism by social media platforms for action against violations under Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act.

Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora asked the social media organisations to come up with a set of norms for themselves, on the lines of the Model Code of Conduct, for the ongoing election process.

Addressing the participants, Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa suggested that a clause on users voluntarily agreeing not to misuse social media platforms for election or political purposes should be introduced.

Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra said there should be punitive action against those misusing the platforms.

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