The Election Commission of India has decided to monitor sending of bulk SMS and recorded voice messages during election campaigning by political parties and candidates.
Taking cognizance of the use of bulk SMSes and recorded voice messages during the election campaigning, the Commission has directed that they would be in the purview of pre- certification of election advertisements as in case of TV channels, cable network, radio including FM channels, cinema halls, audio visual displays in public places and social media, Chief Electoral Officer Narinder Chauhan said.
He said that the supporters, workers and organisations supporting these political parties and candidates also resort to this method of carrying out election campaign on their behalf and apart from use of normal SMSes gateway through mobile, internet is also linked with the mobile gateways to send SMSes and recorded messages.
This feature may sometimes be misused for sending malicious and vilifying material in political campaigning thereby violating electoral and criminal laws besides Model Code of Conduct relating to elections, he added.
Chauhan said the Commission has already issued directions regarding monitoring of such bulk SMSes by police authorities and inclusion of expenditure on these bulk SMSes into election expenditure accounts of the candidates.
He said that the Commission has put in place mechanism at district and state level for certifying political advertisements on TV channels, cable network and radio.
It has decided that the directions would apply mutatis mutandis to the use of bulk SMSes and voice messages over phone for political campaigning during elections.