The Election Commission of India (ECI) has issued guidelines to media on various issue related to elections like exit polls, publication of results etc.
Section 126A of the Representation of People Act 1951 prohibits the conduct of exit poll and dissemination of its results the hour fixed for the close of poll for the last phase in all the states. The advisory by the election commission states that exit polls can only be telecast after the final phase of polling for the Lok Sabha elections ends on May 2019.
Advisory on exit polls is also applicable for Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim.
The ECI has asked the TV, radio channels, cable networks, websites and social media platforms to ensure that the contents of programmes telecast during the 48-hour before the end of polls in each phase do not contain any material, including views or appeals by participants that may be construed as promoting or prejudicing the prospect of any particular party or candidate as per the Section 126 of Representation of People Act 1951.
The advisory warns that any violation by broadcasters will be reported to the News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) by the Election Commission and will be dealt with by the NBSA under its regulations.
The news broadcasters are advised not to air any final or definite results until they are formally announced by the Election Commission.
The Election Commission has asked the political parties to not criticise other countries, or make any verbal attack on any community or religion, use defamatory or obscene remarks or incite violence during the broadcast time allocated in public broadcasting agencies.