Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi said there is no scientific basis for exit and opinion polls and sought a ban on both saying these could be sponsored.
Speaking at a panel discussion on ‘Is India’s media becoming increasing unethical’,he said the poll body wanted a ban on not only exit polls but also opinion polls.
We wanted a ban on opinion and exit polls. If editorial can be paid,if a news item can be paid,then you can imagine that chances are high that these (opinion polls) could also be paid.
We wanted a ban on both but the Supreme Court has banned only exit and left out opinion poll. Every political party has been complaining about it, Quraishi said.
Justifying the need for ban on exit and opinion polls,he said it is sought as there is so much of divergence in results of such polls.
If they would have been scientific,then it could have been considered, he added.
Talking about the problem of paid news,Quarishi said: It is bothering not only politicians but also journalists. 95 per cent of journalists are against it as they are professionals and they don’t want to indulge in this type of commercial activities.
He noted that after complaints received after the Bihar Assembly elections,the Commission had taken various remedial measures including the setting up of Media Certification and Monitoring Committee at both state and district levels.
He said in Bihar,121 cases were detected by the committee which prima facie was paid news and after issue of notices,most the cases turned out to be paid news and candidates had to include the expenses as part of election expenditure.
In recent Assembly elections in five states,the EC had found out 339 paid news cases in Punjab,112 in Uttar Pradesh,61 in Uttarakhand and 70 in Goa.
Of the 331 cases in Punjab,201 candidates accepted their indulgence in paid news.
He also cited examples of Tamil Nadu,Kerala and other states where about 250 cases were registered.
Out of these,TN has 147 such cases and we found that the number of cases were less in South because a number of political parties are having their own channels. They were not buying time or space because they were using their own channels.
He raised an alarm about the anonymity of individual on internet and social media where hate speeches or hate articles could posted in the name of others without his or her knowledge.