MediaSpace DME Journal of Communication

Published Annually by Delhi Metropolitan Education (Affiliated to GGSIP University)

Mind Rigging by the Media: Paid News as Electoral Crime
February 25, 2021
by

Mind Rigging by the Media: Paid News as Electoral Crime

Research Article | Open Access

Mind Rigging by Media: Paid News as Electoral Crime

Sameeksha Shukla & Tejaswini Garg
MediaSpace: DME Journal of Communication, Vol. 1, 2020, Page 76-91

Abstract

Ethics complies with the best practices. Wherein, Media ethics is more concerned about the advancing of as well as defending certain values like respect towards life, rule of law and order, etc. It expounds about various ethical questions that media should take care of such as how the text messages and images that are provided by the people of the country must be used by the media. This research describes what the moral beliefs that the media industry should follow are and how ethics and journalism go hand in hand.

The problem of paid news was started spreading rapidly during the Andhra Pradesh election in 2009 and after that reaches to Maharashtra elections in 2010. This problem comes under the notice of the Press Council of India who acknowledges these unethical practices of the media houses and immediately took a drastic step to deal with the problem, the PCI made the committee to look upon the matter closely and provide suggestions to prevent it. Thus, the objective of the present paper is to analyze the new practices that are used by media and journalists, ethical problems that are related to it, and the legal provisions which can curb the same and also seeking full support by the society in revealing the other sides of the media. It will also focus on what is paid news and unethical measures taken by the media industry in respect of paid news. Further, the paper shall elaborate on different levels of favors given by the candidates to the media to broadcast favorable stories. After that, the research paper seeks to analyze the reasons for the growing threat of paid news and what steps to be taken to reduce the concern of the paid media.

Keywords: Media Ethics; Paid News; Journalism Ethics

Introduction

In modern society, the media plays a vital role when it comes to circulation or publication of any sort of information. Media has a huge influence on the general public at large and thus, the role of media becomes more important when the subject at hand is of “elections”. Media can contribute to developing a scenario, at the times of elections that are free and fair from all the chaos, manipulations, and ill-practices, by conducting their activities in a just, fair, reasonable, and professional manner. It needs to be done to have fair democratic practice in times of elections as fair elections are the most fundamental footing for any democratic nation. Media has become the platform for many to deliver their words for commercial reasons and now, it is one of the legitimate activities, it is difficult for any Media Outlet to have an existence without it. But at the same time, if any Media Outlet holds up in support of anyone single party, it is said to be a sold-out medium, because the actual job of any Media is to put facts in front of the people in the most neutral manner and let the people make decisions. This poisonous seed of unethical practice of paid news in elections’ is growing rapidly. This act of “Paid News” is not only questionable on moral or indecent grounds rather are also an act that is against the provisions of law under statutes, namely “Representation of Peoples Act, 1951” and “Indian Penal Code, 1860”. In different Jurisdictions, varied types of laws and regulations are followed concerning the matter of paid media such as some democratic nations apply a complete ban and in some other countries promotions or advertisements are permissible only till the pre-election times exception to the most important messages that need to communicate it to the voters. Whereas, some countries don’t even permit the circulation of messages in those times. Such stringent rules and regulations are imposed with a motive to protect voters from “undue influence” and provide them with “equal democratic rights of candidates”.

The news and views supply oxygen of truth to the general public of the society and thus, by this, it helps make the people of the nation an aware citizen and helps in presenting the democracy actively. This primary function of the Media Outlets helps in sustaining the rule of law and the decisions that are made by the citizens of the country. However, in recent times what is actually on display are the false claims, baseless and unreasonable remarks, and judgments, etc. instead of the truth of oxygen. Media Outlets have the power of making and dissolving the government and thus because of this paid media and buying and selling of votes and news in the political scenario, the democracy has shifted from its basis that is, “of the people, for the people and by the people” to “off the people, for the people and by the people”.

The research methodology used by the researchers is more of doctrinal approach so as to critically analyze the very objective of the paper that is the scenario created because of the paid news and electoral crimes by the media. The paper also discusses about the effective steps taken by the government to deal with the menace.

The Concept of Paid News

Back in days, newspapers were a very crucial element for all those who wanted to express their views boldly and raise their voice against any issue, malpractice, ill-treatment of the society. Many people also used it as a medium to make people realize their need and desire to enjoy the sense of freedom. When India was under British control and after that when it got independence, spreading news through any media outlet was never an option to earn money rather was an occupation that was opted by those who wanted to do some good by telling the reality.

After independence, the country faced various changes and observed developments in various fields, media being one of the sectors. With these developments, media outlets took a turn from serving society to making profits. In this turn, they didn’t forget to opt for such practices that were wrong and unethical by its very nature. Most benefited by this change were the corrupt, powerful, influential people who in lieu of advertising their products or for creating an image for their brand or themselves; paid these media outlets lump-sum amounts. This now has become a regular practice giving rise to more and more corruption, especially when the promotion or advertisements are in relation to politics. Then the job of these outlets is to sell the ideology, issues, and respective concern to the public at large in name of that political party and its candidate. This is done to acquire the trust and confidence of the people in their political agendas and attain their votes at last.

The influencing doesn’t stop here, as the government also puts pressure on the media houses in numerous ways. Along with it, if we look at the previous years and the expenses incurred by the government in the election campaigns, the picture that comes out is altogether new and different. Even the late Chief Minister of Delhi, Sheila Dixit, once made a statement that the government has the authority to promote its achievements through media outlets. This very statement made, has the power to give rise to a whole new issue.

The approach held by the paid news, media outlets was no different than malafide activities political parties are engaged in or mismanaging of EVMs or bribing or giving gratification within the short time of voting. All of these approaches of Media are to influence the making of the government and for this huge sum of money is given to the media houses to do the campaign for that person of the party standing up in elections. All these unethical practices are not mere election crimes rather are serious offenses that are committed by the corrupt criminal politicians along with the media.

Sometimes these criminal politicians purchased poll personal, to wipe out the other contestants and all the ballots polled into their favor. Nowadays instead of disseminating news and information to the general public, the media is more into a profit-making industry and means of profit earning venture. This rapidly changing phase of media is not hidden. During 1952-1975 the role of the election press was apparently to keep a check on parties taking part in elections, merely on the grounds of obligations and duties that they have towards the nation and its people. For instance, to keep a check on whether the elected candidates have fulfilled their commitments towards the common man or if they found any mistake or loophole on the parties’ part, then to showcase to the concerned public. From the present circumstances, it could be clearly depicted that the press is less devoted to the nation. The Press which started evolving into media and electronic media is now declining. This new era of the press broke its all limits and ethics.

The question of paid news was also raised and argued upon at the union level and amongst the public at large. Wherein, at the time of the Lok Sabha elections, it was argued that the matter of paid news needs an intensive investigation by the court of justice. The paid news is a big contempt to democracy and a big fraudery,” said by one independent candidate. Paid news is a common practice nowadays, not only a small organization but a big organization is also involved in the business of paid media. Government and Election Commission need to look into the matter at hand very minutely and should take strict action against it.  But the government is not taking the matter seriously. This issue is creating question mark on one of the basic structures of the nation that being “democracy “and the inexpressiveness and speechless attitude of the government is building suspicions with regard to its involvement in the matter. As has been noticed that the relation between them is that of a service provider and a client because the government itself is the biggest promoter of the private channel of media and this private channel acts as a troubleshooter. As also been stated by the former president of India, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee that:

“Media is encouraging the era of paid news (publishing news reports in exchange of money. This practice is like scared in the profession of the journalism and to eradicate the problem self improvement is required. It is important for the media to realise their priority and even media’s role must be more churn between public and public servant. Implantation may be difficult, but it is not impossible.”

Paid News and Electoral Offences

When any statement which is untrue, wrong, or incorrect and is made to deceive people and is published by the media houses, then such an act under the provisions of law and order amounts to the electoral offense. That is why it is the obligation of all those who circulate news through various channels during elections to check and verify such statements. At the same time, it is the duty of election commission to investigate the election campaign and advertisement and take strict actions against all those media channels and poll agents who have failed to abide by legal provisions of the Representation of People’s Act.

In this very clause of the section, it is enunciated that when any person makes passes any statement based on opposing party candidate’s character and demeanor which is unfavorable or makes any wrong or false statement about that person would be considered liable for the corrupt and illicit practices. Undue influence, bribery, remarks on the religion and caste, free conveyance of voters, are also “corrupt and illicit practices”. In the present time, media is responsible for the undue influence, circulation of false statement through their publication, for instance, estimating the win or lose off the opposite contesting party, and for this contesting parties spent hefty amounts of money for coverage which also falls under the ambit of corrupt practice. Thus, there is a dire need for the appropriate authorities to look into the matter and investigate. A long-standing observation is that the election tribunals do not decide upon the case of the politicians who are involved in the purchasing of news and taking the benefit of this undue delay, these politicians come into the position of “power”.

When questioned by the PCI about the indulgence of Mr. Ashok Chavan in the paid news, the former Maharashtra CM said that:

The appropriate forum to respond is the court of law the election petitions is tried”.

In Andhra Pradesh, the candidate filed the petition against the Election Tribunal (High Court) claiming that his loss in the election was sole because of the involvement of media and their influencing, false and baseless claims and opinions. Therefore, it is important for the Election Commission to be more responsible in preventing corrupt practices and protect the candidates with the information war.

Election Crime

There are thousands and thousands of incidents when the electoral rights of the voters are affected because of the existence of undue influence during the election times amounting offenses under the Penal Laws and people’s representation laws of India.

Undue Influence as has been enunciated in various provisions of law that means inducing or the attempt to induce any candidate or voter to perform against their whims and wills or without allowing them to understand the consequences of their decisions. And thereby, to put a brake on such activities, the legislature lays down that under section 171 C of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, any such intervening is an offense whoever does such an act is punishable under Section 171 F for a jail term of maximum one year or fine or both.

However, statements like the achievements of the candidates can influence the voter but these are not considered as undue influence. It is on the media to understand that by encouraging to the incorrect means and mediums, they are hampering democracy and are committing crimes.

The newspaper readings in today’s time work as the pamphlets for the political parties as all these media outlets also provide the similar promotional information about the political parties as they are in the pamphlets of the parties contesting elections. However, there is a check on pamphlets kept by the Chief Electoral Officer or the District Magistrate and if any candidate fails to obligate with the process as mention in the concerned provisions then is liable for punishment. But no such check and liability are imposed on the media outlets, in strictest forms. It is important to bring media under the same ambit to restrict them from committing any sort of offense.

In view of curbing the unhealthy practices that take place during election times, the legislature provides the power to the District Magistrates to call upon Media House or Contesting Party along with the elaborated report on the transaction of money for news and advertisements. He also has the authority to demand the copies of the same to be presented and duly submitted to him to cross-check the reports. It is done to check whether the reports are true and genuine or are false and implicated that might have an impact on the results of the elections.

It was observed in one of the reviews conducted by the ADR Committee that the actual expenses of the contesting parties do not meet up with the amount that has been declared by the parties. Thus, it is important to have such more provisions so that the detrimental exercises paid promotions by media, can be suppressed timely.

It has been noticed that the media houses try and hide the real transaction by not showcasing the actual figures in their respective accounting statements and therefore, are not only violating the Representation of People Act but also violating provisions of the Companies Act, 1956 and other laws also. That is why Income tax authorities have been provided with the power to ask the financial transaction details of any outlet. They after reviewing such transactions can impose the taxes on these outlets, if and when necessary. Also, if any person who is contesting the elections and found guilty or indulged in the corrupt practices then that person would be disqualified from contesting the election as election rules norms. And if any individual indulge in the corrupt practices then their right to vote will be forfeited.

Scenarios of Election Crimes in India

In 2004, it was seen during the Andhra Pradesh elections that the media houses and the journalists in their respective ways were publishing the favorable stories for a hefty amount of money, in other words, were conducting paid news.  In the Khammam district of AP some political parties paying huge amount of money to create a false advertisement atmosphere to influence the electorate. Any evidence for the same had been recorded neither by the purchaser nor by the selling journalists. But the officer of the district issued the notice against the candidate and the media. Before any stringent action could take place he shifted because the ruling and opposition party did not want it. By 2009 in the next Assembly Elections, the individual came into power and become deep-rooted and the practice becomes common in few places. Now it becomes a package deal for every political party candidate to buy any media organization for the advertisement of their continuing campaign winning stories and cooking false-negative remarks to the rival party. It is mandatory for every party candidate to sell the content for a minimum of 5 lakhs for not writing an adverse statement but the favorable stories. More the size of the money is directly proportionate to more favorable stories, this is the deal set by the media organization.

During the 1995 election N.T Ramarao was eliminated for contesting the election as he paid media for publicizing favorable stories to influence the voters. And major dailies published false reports about the achievements of NTR.  Due to adverse effects, many legislators shift loyalty to Chnadrababu Naidu who was also contesting in the same election. After becoming the Chief Minister of AP he visits those journalists individually who was involved in the paid news practices.

The same scenario happened in the constituency of Warangal District where it was held that votes had been sold for the cash. A large amount of money was seized by the politicians and before the notification of the election the candidates distributed the cash to selected households, it was a vote for cash. Candidates provide the notes in return give votes to them were the mantra for the corrupt politicians and if not followed the norms they will threaten the voters. The media was also paid for not publishing the reports about this. This fraudulent act and false publication were not noticed by the law, before anything could happen they suppressed the news by offering cash to media personnel. The law does not have provisions or punishment for paid silence.

This practice has the characteristics of lying under oath, misleading the truth, a deception which is punishable offenses. It is not only morally wrong or unethical but is also a crime in respect to the democracy, economy, and integrity of the country by the dominating, influential part of the society.

Steps Taken by the Government

Initially, media houses used to work in a very upright and healthy but with power and position, the media changed and started misusing the powers it withholds. The credibility of media is high which makes the press an important source of reaching the people. Due to this the politicians who are contesting the election thought of influencing the press by paying them for advertisement, publicity, or for the other malpractices and by doing so can also influence the voter. During the general Election of 2004, the paid news practices come to the notice of the Election Commission but till 2009 anything could be done the menace already harms the democracy to the roots. In the last 2 decades, electronic media become corporatized and also have a great impact on the commercial aspects. In the traditional approach, the office of the editors and the publisher was completely isolated because to protect the independence and sovereignty of the media culture.In order to maintain a healthy environment for varied media channels, the government has to set various policy frameworks. And the Ministry of Information and broadcasting can play a vital role in setting up the framework. The Ministry can ensure that news and views which are available to the general public are fair, unbiased, and factual along with some objective. The threat of paid news has been in practice for a very long time, but the Ministry till now not has done anything substantial to check on the situation. Since the last decade, there were increase instances of ‘Paid News’, but the Government yet to take concrete and stringent measures to stop this. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is not working in any policy frameworks and statutory recourses and has failed to fulfill its responsibility.  It is strongly recommended that the Ministry should take in hand the matter of paid media as soon as possible, it is a serious concern nowadays. Also, the ministry needs to come up with some corrective measures that are reasonable enough to control threats.

AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal raised the question on the paid media and said that:

“The entire media was being highly paid by the Narendra Modi campaign and the media organization is saleable. He said that if he came into the power the strict action will be taken by their government and investigation will also be held or if any media personnel found guilty will be sent jail for long period. The next day there was social disturbance because of the said statement between the Information and Broadcasting Ministry and other political leaders. One of the former leader of AAP and journalists defended AAP leader by saying that the media should reveal in the public domain that how much revenue they earned through advertising”.

Danger of Paid News and Impact on Election

Threat to Democracy

To comprehend the threat of paid news one also needs to understand the assessment of the journalists about the issue in-depth analysis and what was the requirement of the prominent media organization to do such kind of offenses and threatening the democracy of the county.

Mr. Prabhas Joshi said during the election of 2009 Lok Sabha:

Whatever destruction has been done to the press council is very saddening and dangerous. But for this entire debacle the press council was responsible for selling transparency of media and playing with the faith of the public. Almost all big media organization have made a package deal and sold the media integrity to the candidates. Hardly any news published during election which has objective and freely searched. The media organizations have forgotten to follow the religion of journalism. They are the organization with the strong opinion and views and can influence the society in large. He claimed that whatever news published by the newspaper were all false. The press being the guardian of democracy has made it all a lie.

There were numerous contentions and debates at the time of elections of Maharashtra saying that newspaper and the television media had made a robust amount of money by selling their news. After this, the committee was set up by PCI which investigated to look upon the matter very keenly and honestly in the paid news scam.

“After few days report was submitted before the committee which says there was group of media organization who was guilty for the offence. But no strict action was taken by the PCI. This is the big example of running away of PCI from the situation by the malpractices of media houses.”

Due to the shameful activity malpractices of the media, there was a headline in the western countries. In one of the most popular news daily in Britain, saying that the guardian of the democracy i.e., media had hands in the malpractices of the Indian political circle of paid news.

One popular English Newspaper, The New York Times had also raised the issue of different forms of paid news of India Media. They pointed out through their newspaper that Indian Media demonstrate the pleasing or favorable stories of the persons contending for the election which was a commercial advertisement.

Several media organization and reporters in our country were very distressed because of the situation. During traditional times the journalism was not the considered source of livelihood but creating a powerful impact on society by their views and opinions. Journalism has attached with some ethics and principle. Nowadays media was also becoming the part of a business or money-minded organization, which is difficult to control. The media is considered as the strongest pillar out of the four pillars of the democracy but today it appears that it is getting empty from the inside. The changing trends of the media show a threat to democracy.

Lok Sabha’s information technology committee realized the threat of paid news. In the 47th report, the committee shows a serious concern about the situation and expresses the views about the paid news. The report which was submitted by PCI stated that the media is involved in the paid news scam as well as part of the several other misconducts. PCI investigating committee discloses this matter in 2012 at Gujarat Election. The report says that the number of political contenders agreed that they have bribed the media to publish the false story about their campaigning and 126 evidence in this matter. The situation becomes more stressed in district level media verification and 414 cases were confirmed of paid news.

By the growing trend of media in the paid news, only journalists are blamed but the politicians are equally liable for the situation. Both of them are to be blamed equally. Candidates require media to gain the attention of the public. In this process, politicians extend their financial support to the media industry and in return candidates get more publicity and slot in the front headlines of the newspaper. They also have a partnership with the owner of the newspaper for their advantages. And after all these if the media refused to publish news in their favor then both groups starts the blame game.

Impact on Elections

MLA loose his/her seat

Mrs. Umlesh Yadav, who was a MLA from Basauli (U.P.), was bar according to the section 10A of the Representation of People’s Act 1951 for 3 years for proving false figures of election expenses this was the first case where the leader was convicted for paid news. The Supreme Court defines the scope of section 10A. It was held by the Supreme Court that the complaint about figures or accounts of the election expense was not filled according to the procedure prescribed in the law, it is the responsibility of the EC to check on the correctness or falsity of the election expenses if any complaint lodged against any candidate under section 10A. With the reference of the above judgment of the SC, the EC enact the order of ‘paid news’ against the one of the members of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly member that the Commission has right to check on the matter of the election expenses. The member has filed the writ in the Delhi High Court for the same. The Delhi High Court taking into the consideration of the L.R. Shivaramgowda decision and held that the decision of the Commission as true and the court stand with a view of the commission as the decision of the EC has given by seeing every aspect of the law lay down and the writ stands dismissed.

The SC explains the term “expenditure” under the Explanation I of section 77 of The Representation of People Act, 1951 and that it was stated that the expenses incurred during the election should be known to the election contender and the agent of election contender and it will be presumed that the expenses are authorized by them. Then only the candidates are barred from the burden of the section. Section 77 has been amended several times but the final interpretation came into 2003 and it is said that the expenses arose due to excursion by air or because of other modes of transportation for the general election campaign  and any facilities  or services provided to any section of the society in the name of the service of the government, is exempted now and it includes all other expenditure in relation to or connection with, the party agenda which is approved by the election candidate or by his/her agent. The electorate should also aware of the assets and the liability, qualification to decide for contesting in the election or not.

The EC and PCI should act accordingly to check on the matter whether the expenses incurred by the party candidates are for the advertisement or for by the paid content. If this happened in the genuinely way then the elective representative will loosen their seats and disqualified for contesting the election.

Media contribution in Crime

The elections of Parliament is nourishing the paid news practices, number of the candidates are using this medium to gain benefits for its personal use. RTI has been filed against The ECI which shows that the large number of the election candidates taken help from the media by paying them money to win the election. It is very difficult to estimate the number of candidates who successfully reached their state assemblies by these malpractices. In 2010 only 2 complaints were registered by the Press Council of India but this figures increased to 50 in 2014-2015. This numbers show the dark side of the media, which does not even come into the limelight. The Press Council even set up the committee to check on the matter during state assembly elections but the Press Council didn’t have any interest to look on the matter by itself. The figures are proof that all efforts made towards the malpractices of the paid news are mere long speech and formalities of forming the committees and no actual measures have been taken by the committee to rescue the media from the stigma. We can only hope that Election Commission and The Press Council of India would come with the policy frameworks to deal with the evil business of paid news with extra caution.

What should be done?

The journalists and media organisation should realized the roles and responsibility towards the country to make the country better living and helping the general public in choosing a better government. The menace of the paid news breaches the ethics of the media and raised the question mark on the integrity of the country; it is crime against the democracy and should be punishable under the law. It’s also challenging to administer free and fair elections for the ECI. During the election, the Election Commission is exempted from all the interference in the three main organs of the government and ensures that the election candidates should not spread any falsity or undue influence among the public and do not spend more than the prescribed limits. After the elections are over the offender prosecutes in the court of law. It is important for the ECI and PCI to establish one committee on every district to register the complaint and if required then take strict action against the election candidates, media personnel or any other person involved in this wrong doing. The ECI has the constitutional obligation to conduct free and fair election.

Enhanced Punishments

The legal provisions provided in the present statute are not enough to penalize the wrongdoers. The IPC provisions should enhance punishments and impose heavy penalties for these types of offenses. When the charges are suppressed against the individual on the allegation of paid the media then the burden of proof is transfers to the person against whom the complaint filed. There is no provision and punishment in any statutes against the media organization for publishing the paid news. And in case if it has been somehow proved that the media publishes any particular news or any favourable stories just for the money then no legal action has been commenced against them. Both journalists and the media are equally liable for the malpractices of paid news and should be prosecuted to the court.

Right of People to Know

The public has the right to know before exercising the right to vote because the service provides by the PCI is related to the public utility. The press has function to administer correct information when any content is presented in the form of news and show with the best of his ability. The information presented in the news channel and newspaper is different from the articles and editorials in which views of the writers expressed but we cannot say them as factual news, so the news should be factual not misleading. Thus, it is very important to protect the voter’s rights when they vote in the favour of particular candidate.

Paid Media: Serious Crime during elections

There is no law that declare the paid news as a serious crime, so there should be an amendment in section 23 of the Representative Act to declare the paid news during election as an offence. The existing law of land such as IPC, RP Act, CrPC and the Income Tax Act including the Election Commission have the ability to check on such malpractices but they are not proactive enough, they have to act in more efficient manner to arrest the people who are indulged in committing the fraud. If the legislator can be disqualified for the offence in similar way action should also be taken against who are selling the news.

Functions of Press Council of India

In last chapter we have seen the numbers of the cases registered against PCI, the committee has been failed in some part in fulfilling the objective of the press and to maintain transparency. The press has to raise or improve the standard of the newspaper and work in the interest of the public. The Council has vested to the oral observations only and no express authority to deal with the situation. So, there is a necessary requirement for more power in the hands of PCI. The composition of the council should be revised and expand its power. As the Ministry is silent on the issue which creates more pressure on the council committee, the member of the PCI is also heading the two other sub-committees. So the writer is in the view that there is a need to evaluate the composition of the committee because the existing members are not enough to protect the interest of the PCI. The guidelines of the PCI should be framed more stringently and demarcate the political advertisement from printing disclaimers and enforced all the publications.

The PCI can also constitute a body of media professional and make them the representative in the different level of states to check on the increasing threat of paid media organization and give suggestion to resolving them by going through an appellate mechanism. And that recommendation will be binding on the ECI and PCI should also take more steps to entertain the complaints of the paid news from journalists.

The ECI should also act proactively to identify the culprits of paid news, and any evidence found against the media personnel or organization then should take the matter on their hands and initiate the own action, if necessary, and also seek the help from the other authorities of the government.

Awareness Programme

Conducting workshops, seminars, awareness programme, reports which also include the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, PCI, ECI and editors & journalists of the media organisation, political party’s member to think seriously on this matter and arrive at feasible conclusions to reduce the malpractices in the media industry and the paid news stigma.

Declaration by the Media Company

There should be a declaration by the journalists or the editor in the newspaper or even in the televisions channel if any news is published by them that “whatever content or advertisement is published by the organisation about the political parties is not paid by any candidates of the party.” Such disclaimers would not help more but can do a little bit by binding the staff of media morally and to stick on professional ethics. This is only a partial solution to the issue because in every organisation there is always one offender who would not stick with the norms of the code of the conduct and ethics as they are not legally binding. The owner of the media company has to take a long term solution to for the malpractices because if not taken then the democracy as well as media’s credibility will be at stake.

All these efforts if implemented sincerely then it may stop the corrupt practices not wholly but at the considerable extent. If the Law is practice in the true sense the system will also in the place.

From this paper one thing is very clear that broadcasting favourable stories of any specific election candidate in exchange of money has grown beyond. It becomes the necessity to stop the corruption of paid news in the media industry as it harming our democracy from the roots.  The less source of information raises the effectiveness of the paid news. The genuine source of information decreases the effect of paid media. The study shows that if the person watches news from every different source or read more than one newspaper, it can be misleaded easily by the paid news. People can blindly trust on the politicians with impact of paid news and take the decision based on misleading statement without finding out the truth. If election contenders spend large amount of money in the paid news at the time of election is considered as qualified candidates. And in such way it’s affecting the integrity as well as the democracy of our country.

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Author’s Information:

Sameeksha Shukla: Student, School of Law, University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradoon (Uttrakhand), sameekshashukla10.ss@gmail.com

Tejaswini Garg: Student, School of Law, University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradoon (Uttrakhand), garg.tejaswini@gmail.com