As the 2019 general elections loom large, an array of civil society and digital rights groups have appealed to the Election Commission (EC) to monitor not only digital platforms like Google and Facebook but, more importantly, the spending by political parties on online campaigning – to safeguard the integrity of the electoral process.
On April 5, 2019, this joint platform – including Common Cause, Constitutional Conduct Group, Internet Freedom Foundation, Free Software Movement of India, Association for Democratic Reforms, several former public servants as well as former Chief Election Commissioners, N Gopalaswami and SY Quraishi – released a statement and a Call For Action. These are addressed to the EC as well as political parties, civil society, media and citizens.
The speakers at the press conference spoke of the overarching importance of controlling the online spending of political parties, and not just of candidates, during the election campaigns. They also asked the EC to make it mandatory for political parties to disclose official political party/individual handles on all major digital platforms such as Facebook, Twitter as well as lesser-known platforms such as WeChat, Sharechat, TikTok, etc.… This joint platform urged the parties to include in their manifestos a commitment to work out such a such a cap on political spending in future elections.…
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