Satyabrata Sahoo, the Chief Electoral Officer of Tamil Nadu, on Sunday, directed the media not to telecast AIADMK advertisements that are critical of the DMK on the grounds of violating the Model Code of Conduct (MCC). In a letter addressed to all media organisations, including print and TV channels, the CEO said that the legal wing secretary of the DMK has written to him regarding the AIADMK telecasting advertisements that make references to DMK on corruption.
“The legal wing secretary of DMK has brought to the notice of this office that the election campaign video of the AIADMK party related to the offence of corruption is being telecast in electronic and social media so as to influence the voters. The content of the video is based on baseless allegations and scandalous statements,” reads the directive to the media.
Citing the Compendium of Instructions on Model Code of Conduct, the CEO then stated that other parties or their workers shall not be criticised based on unsubstantiated allegations. He added that the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994 permits the Election Commission to order a ban on the telecast of such materials on TV. “..it will also be open to direct seizure of the equipment,” reads the letter from the CEO.
Incidentally, this order comes a week after the AIADMK approached the Election Commission of India with a complaint against the DMK’s advertisement for violating the poll code. In its complaint, the AIADMK said that the DMK, through its ad, was making baseless allegations against it in relation to the Sterlite incident that took place in May 2018.
AIADMK said that DMK was alleging that the state government intentionally opened fire at the protestors in Sterlite protest on May 22, which claimed the lives of 13 civilians. Stating that the DMK has violated the Model Code of Conduct, which prohibits the use of pictures of funerals, coffins and dead bodies in campaigns, AIADMK sought ECI to take strict action against the DMK.