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|January 6, 1998||
No censorship on poll surveys: Press Council
Press Council of India chairman Justice P B Sawant on Tuesday clarified there was no ban on publishing poll surveys.
But newspapers should adhere to certain guidelines to avoid political parties from using the media to influence the poll outcome, the judge said.
''In the event of a staggered Lok Sabha election, the exit polls should be published only after the polling is over,'' he said.
As for pre-poll surveys, newspapers should preface them conspicuously by indicating the institutions which conducted the survey, nature and size of the samples collected, method of selection, margin of error as also the organisations or individuals who commissioned it.
He called upon the media not to take partisan views and fall victim to caste, religion and language propaganda.
In the interest of the country's democracy, he continued, such reports should be unbiased so as not to influence the voters for the benefit of a particular political party. Unfortunately, the media was not a homogenous institution. There were many players in the field and in the absence of any specific controlling body, it becomes necessary for the Press Council to monitor media reports.
''In any case, poll surveys might not be the true outcome of the election,'' Justice Sawant said, "In 1996, nine out of 10 surveys went wrong."
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