Big-Ticket Polls on the Calendar, EC to Hire Private Firm to Track Media Coverage of Itself


With as many as 5 state elections across the nook, the Election Fee is seeking to rent a non-public company to trace the print, tv, digital and social media area for protection of points regarding the electoral processes and the ballot watchdog itself. The company will put together suggestions stories based mostly on its findings.

Sources within the authorities stated that is the primary time that the Election Fee is hiring a separate company to observe media protection. A Request for Proposal (RFP) to this impact has been floated by the general public sector enterprise Broadcast Engineering Consultants India restricted (BECIL), which comes beneath the Ministry of Data and Broadcasting. Eligible companies should ship of their bids by November 30.

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As per the RFP, the company should intently monitor all main print, tv and on-line media, alongside social media platforms and the international press on the protection of the Election Fee and the ballot processes in numerous states. Based mostly on this protection, it should generate periodic sentiment evaluation stories, categorising the information stories or the opinion items into constructive, damaging and impartial. This evaluation may also be based mostly on sure key phrases put forth by the EC.

Moreover, the agency might be required to create an interactive dashboard for all platforms, the place all such associated content material might be uploaded and may also throw up real-time notifications on poll-related developments.

Why is such an company wanted

The Election Fee’s efforts to achieve suggestions over its selections and different poll-related issues come within the backdrop of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand Goa and Manipur going to polls within the first half of subsequent yr.

The ballot watchdog up to now had drawn criticism from completely different corners for its stand on alleged violations of electoral processes.

Sheyphali Saran, spokesperson for the EC, informed News18 that the rationale the ballot physique would wish to rent its personal company is as a result of it wants well timed suggestions from the bottom, particularly from poll-bound states. She stated the listing of publications or channels, together with regional channels, will should be tailor-made as per the EC’s necessities.

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“The listing would change periodically as per the states going to polls and it isn’t possible to fulfill the EC’s necessities with the usual listing of the Press Data Bureau,” she stated.

She stated ministries just like the MEA have suggestions companies solely suited to their necessities and the EC additionally felt the necessity to have a selected company tailor-made to its wants.

Earlier this yr, the Election Fee sought from the Madras Excessive Courtroom an order to cease the media on reporting on oral observations throughout listening to of circumstances associated to elections. The Madras High Court had refused to entertain the petition. Subsequently, the Supreme Court had additionally declined a plea made by the EC on reporting of sure remarks made by the Madras Excessive Courtroom.

How the company will operate

The agency is anticipated to scan main nationwide and vernacular newspapers and magazines, monitor nationwide and regional tv information channels on reportage of points regarding the EC and electoral processes. Based mostly on this, it should put together each day sentiment evaluation stories for the EC, summarising the stories and categorising them to constructive, damaging or impartial. It can even be required to flag the names of the authors of stories and flag state-specific issues, if any.

It can additionally intently monitor information in regards to the EC and the ballot processes throughout digital platforms, together with on-line information portals, blogs, worldwide magazines, and social media, and use a very good business normal device to arrange the notion stories.

For on-line information platforms, the suggestions would come with protection of related information printed and in addition on social media posts by main influencers, together with journalists and politicians. As per the EC’s requirement, the company should submit such stories a number of instances throughout election season.

The company should arrange a dashboard the place all information monitored might be out there on a password-protected internet portal. The portal should be able to offering notifications in real-time and may facilitate creating dossiers of the print information gadgets and supply hyperlinks for on-line and social media protection for straightforward entry.

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