Print Media and MCC

Last updated on May 28, 2024


All print media including newspapers have to follow the rules under the MCC. The Press has a duty to1:

Be Objective Give only objective reports about elections and the candidates. Not any exaggerated reports. For example: The press cannot publish any fake news about a candidate’s election campaign.

Not Spread Hatred Refrain from reporting on election campaigning which tends to promote feelings of enmity or hatred between people, on the grounds of religion, race, caste, community or language. For example: When a leader belonging to one party says that we will teach the Muslims a lesson if we come to power.

Not Spread False Information Refrain from publishing false or critical statements in regard to the personal character and conduct of any candidate.

Verify Facts Refrain from publishing any unverified allegations against any candidate or political party.

Not Take Money for Stories

  • Refrain from accepting any kind of money or gifts to write about a candidate or political party.
  • Not publish any advertisement at the cost of public exchequer regarding the achievements of the ruling party.

For example, if certain advertisements of offending nature are published in a newspaper regarding a political party, then it is violative of the MCC and the printer and publisher may be punished for it.

Posters and Pamphlets

The MCC only applies to those printed pamphlets, hand-bill or other documents distributed to promote or demote any candidate or political party.2

For example, if a political party publishes a poster with a morphed picture of a candidate, then it is violative of the MCC and the printer and publisher may be punished for it.

Announcement of Dates

It does not include any hand-bill, placard or poster announcing the date, time, place and other particulars of an election meeting or routine instructions to election agents or workers.

For example, if a political party publishes a poster with a morphed picture of a candidate, then it is violative of the MCC and the printer and publisher may be punished for it.

Publishing the name of the printer and publisher

Any advertisements made in newspapers, posters and pamphlets have to bear the name of the printer and the publisher. If any content in the advertisement violates the MCC, then the printer or publisher responsible may face jail time for six months and/or be punished with a fine up to Rs. 2,000.3

All the printers of newspapers, posters and pamphlets and other print media have to do the following before printing:

  • Obtain a copy of a declaration as to the identity of the publisher with the publisher’s signature and two witnesses attesting the declaration.
  • One copy of the declaration and the document have to be printed and sent to the Chief Electoral Officer of the State (if it is printed in any capital of a State) or to the District Magistrate of the district where it is printed.

Electronic Versions of Newspapers, Posters and Pamphlets

If the newspaper, posters or pamphlets are in electronic form then the law requires the publisher to pre-certify the advertisement by sending it to a Media Certification and Monitoring Committee set up in district and state levels, who will certify that the document is not violating any laws or the MCC.

  1. Press Council of India Guidelines for Election Reporting, []
  2. Chapter 15, Manual for Model Code of Conduct, Election Commission, available at []
  3. Section 127A, Representation of Peoples Act, 1951. []

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