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ECI Issues Directive for Responsible Use of Social Media by Political Parties

Taking cognizance of the certain violations of MCC and the extant legal provisions by Political Parties /their representatives while using social media for election campaigning, the Commission today has issued directions to political parties for responsible and ethical use of social media in election campaigning to ensure level playing field among all stakeholders. 

The Commission has also warned the parties against misuse of AI based tools to create deep fakes that distort information or propagate misinformation, emphasizing the need to uphold the integrity of the electoral process.

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The ECI has brought to the notice of political parties the existing legal provisions that govern the regulatory framework against the use of misinformation and impersonation using deep fakes.

This includes the Information Technology Act, 2000 and the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021, the Indian Penal Code and framework of the twin acts namely the Representation of People Act, 1950 and 1951 and the provisions of the Model Code of Conduct.

In view of the existing legal provisions, amongst other directions, the parties have been specifically directed to refrain from publishing and circulating deep fake audios/videos, disseminate any misinformation or information which is patently false, untrue or misleading in nature, to refrain from posting derogatory content towards women, to abstain from using children in campaigns, to avoid depicting violence or harm to animals.

The parties have been directed to promptly remove any such content within three hours of bringing it to their notice, warn the person responsible in their party, reporting unlawful information and fake user accounts to respective platforms, and escalate persistent issues to the Grievance Appellate Committee under Rule 3A of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.

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Source: PIB

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