To check spread of any fake news and hate speech and to ensure free and fair polls, Delhi's Chief Electoral Officer Ranbir Singh said in New Delhi on Monday that the authorities will keep a strict vigil on social media platforms and asserted that "appropriate action" will be taken against the offenders.
Singh also appealed to the people to use the Election Commission's 'cVigil' app to report any violations of moral code of conduct like use of money, gifts or liquor to influence voters, muscle power to intimidate voters or use of hate speech. Using this Android-based app, a person can send geo-tagged videos and photos, if any illegal money is being distributed or a hate speech being made during polls.
"If any violations of the moral code of conduct is seen by people, like use of money, gifts or liquor to influence voters, muscle power to intimidate voters or use of hate speech, then a user can take a picture or a video and report it through this app," he said.
The Delhi CEO said, once the details has been uploaded, the complaint will be sent to a "flying squad" which will then escalate the complaint.
"The only condition is a citizen would have to upload the complaint within five minutes for successful submission. And, within 100 minutes from that time, a Returning Officer (RO) has to dispose the case," he said, adding, a user can choose to keep his or her identity anonymous.
The Election Commission had announced the seven-phase election dates on Sunday. The elections will begin on April 11 and counting of votes will be conducted on May 23. The elections in Delhi are due on May 12.
The EC in January had directed Delhi CEO to ask the city police to investigate the "fake news" of Lok Sabha poll schedule, which was being circulated on social media then.
The CEO had also been asked to seek action against unnamed persons and entities under relevant laws to prevent rumour-mongering.
Singh on Monday said for the "first time", a social media expert has been included in the Media Certification and Monitoring Committee (MCMC) of the poll body, which will monitor both at state-level and district-level.
"Authorities will be monitoring all forms of the media, including TV radio, social media, like Facebook and Twitter, to check spread of any fake news and hate speech. For any individual violator, it will be reported at the district-level and for political parties, any violation would be reported at the state-level," he said.
Asked what would be the nature of action against such violations, he said, "appropriate action" would be taken as per the laws.