Independent media in India does not only act as the message platform between parties, candidates and the electorates, but they also play specific roles such as educating voters, reporting on election campaigns, monitoring vote counting and also being a watchdog for the world’s largest democracy.
Paid news has become one of the problems during the elections because it affects the rights to information by the people. “The Press Council of India report on paid news found that the phenomenon of paid news goes beyond the corruption of individual journalists and media companies. It has become pervasive, structured and highly organized and in the process, in undermining democracy in India”. However, the Election Commission of India has been trying to take measures to stop paid news and created an in-house division to cope with this issue. The ECI has proposed to amendment of law to make paid news an electoral offence.
In the recent 2014 Elections, social media played an important role in Indian elections for the first time as India has almost 74 million internet uses. And 75 percent of the online users is young than the age of 35. In Delhi, 12.15 out of 13 million registered voters were online users. The digital platforms have then become the largest canvassing tool for parties and the most effective engagement tool for party workers. BJP party has used social media campaign and it was affected 30-40 percent of the overall seats.
Niraj Kumar, Role of Indian Media: Covering General Elections, University of Lucknow, 2014, http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/46965/1/niraj%20kumar%20final%20thesis.pdf.
Idrees Ali, Social Media Played Big Role in India’s Election, VOA, June 6, 2014,http://www.voanews.com/a/social-media-emerges-as-a-key-tool-in-indias-election/1931238.html.
Prerna Kaul Mishra, How social media is transforming Indian politics, World Economic Forum, February 27, 2015 , https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2015/02/how-social-media-is-transforming-indian-politics/.
PDF : Handbook for Media: General Election to the 16th Lok Sabha 2014 (ECI)
PDF : Press Note: Order issued by the Commission regarding allotment of Broadcast/ Telecast time to political parties in 2009 Elections
Link : MTV sent the Youth in India to Polling Booths Dial a Hashtag (Cream Global: 2014)
Link : Election fever: Social media abuzz with awareness campaigns (See News: May 6, 2014)
Link : Indian media scrutinised over election coverage (Doha Centre for Media Freedom: 2014)
Link : How Social Media Impacted the 2014 Indian Elections (Shonali Burke: 2013)