No. 491/Paid News/2019/Communication Dated: 25th February, 2019
Chief Electoral Officer of all the States/UTs
Subject: Reconstitution of Media Certification & Monitoring Committee – regarding.
I am directed to invite your attention to the subject cited and to state that in partial modification of Commission's guidelines dated 27th August, 2012, the Media Certification & Monitoring Committees at District and State level are hereby reconstituted with the inclusion of an Intermediary expert (intermediary as defined in section 2(w) of IT Act, 2000)/social media expert. The reconstituted MCMC shall be as under:
1. District Level Media certification and Monitoring Committee(MCMC)
1.1 The District level MCMC shall be formed in each district with the following members:
(a) DEO/RO (of Parliamentary Constituency)
(b) ARO (not below SDM)
(c) An intermediary expert/Social media expert (to be chosen by the RO subject to the eligibility criteria)
(d) Central Govt. I & B Ministry official (if any in the district)
(e) Independent Citizen/Journalist as may be recommended by PCI
(f) DPRO/District Information Officer/equivalent – Member Secretary
1.2 For the purpose of the certification of advertisements as per the Supreme Court order dated 13.04.2004, Returning Officer of the parliamentary constituency/District Election Officer, an ARO (not below SDM) and An Intermediary Expert/Social Media Expert shall be the members of the MCMC.
2. State level MCMC
2.1 The State level MCMC shall comprise of the following officers:
(a) The Chief Electoral Officer, Chairman
(b) Any Observer appointed by the Election Commission of India
(c) One expert to be co-opted by the Committee.
(d) Officer of Indian Information Service (IIS), (at the level of US/ DS) posted in the State/UT, representing a media Department of Government of India as separate from the expert at (c) above.
(e) Independent citizen or journalist as nominated by PCI (if any)
(f) Addl/Jt CEO in charge of Media (Member Secretary)
(g) An intermediary expert/Social media expert (to be chosen by the CEO subject to the eligibility criteria)
2.2 The State level MCMC shall perform two sets of functions:
(i) Deciding appeal from both District and Addl/Jt CEO Committees on Certification of advertisement as per the aforesaid Commission order dated 15th April 2004.
(ii) Examining all cases of Paid News on appeal against the decision of District MCMC or cases that they may take up suo motu, in which case it shall direct the concerned ROs to issue notices to the candidates.
3. Addl/Joint CEO's Committee on Certification:
The Committee chaired by Addl/Jt. CEO for Certification of advertisement shall also have one intermediary expert/social media expert as chosen by the chairperson of the committee subject to the eligibility criteria.
4. It is further stated that the duties performed by the Media certification & Monitoring Committees at District and State Level will remain as it is mentioned in the Commission's guidelines dated 27th August, 2012.
5. It is also to state that the intermediary expert/Social Media expert to be included in the MCMCs should preferably be a government officer subject to following eligibility criteria:
A. If he/she is a Government Officer, he/she should be –
i. Not below the rank of SDM
ii. Has at least 5 years' experience of working in IT department/cell/social media cell of the government.
B. If he/she is not a Government Officer (means private individual), he/she should –
i. Have a Masters' degree in the field of IT
ii. Have at least 10 years' experience of working in IT department/cell/social media cell of the government at central or state level with good understanding of Social media platforms and how they work.
iii. Be also eligible in terms of background and neutrality.
6. With respect to the profile of work which the intermediary expert/social media expert will be handling, it is to state that he/she shall:
i. Assist the MCMC in the matter of certification of political advertisements proposed to be published on social media platforms
ii. Assist MCMC in scanning social media platforms for suspected cases of Paid News
iii. Assist MCMC in submitting a daily report to Accounting team with copy to RO and Expenditure Observer w.r.t. expenditure incurred by the candidate on election advertising on social media platforms
iv. Assist the MCMC in the matters of queries/complaints related to advertisements on social media platforms
v. Look after the overall coordination between MCMC and the intermediaries/social media platforms
vi. Make sure that the Election Laws are strictly adhered to with matters related to advertisements on social media platforms
vii. Assist MCMC in handling the violation cases on Social media
viii. Being part of State level MCMC, he/she will assist in deciding appeal from District and Addl. /Jt. CEO Committee on certification of advt. on social media and also examining all cases of Paid News on appeal against the decision of District MCMC or cases that they may take up suo motu.