A notice issued by NGO Crime Prevention Council of India is being shared on WhatsApp and ShareChat. The notice claims that action will be taken against people who will share poll campaign-related posts, photos, banners for the upcoming 2019 elections from the NGO’s crime division.
According to the notice, “Any person connected to social media through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp and other networks should not send posts, photos, banners, etc. related to the poll campaign ahead of the upcoming polls of 2019,”.
‘Expect Action from EC’s Special Surveillance Team’
“Along with the notification for Lok Sabha elections, the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) has come into effect. Admin panels of groups on social media should inform members of their groups and play the role of a responsible citizen,” the notice reads, adding that the person found doing so will be held accountable for any wrongdoing.
It further states that action can be taken by the Election Commission's district level ‘Special Surveillance Team’.
The notice has been signed by NS Chandravanshi, under the designation of District Officer of the NGO.
WebQoof received the notice on Facebook, WhatsApp and ShareChat.
Talking to The Quint’s WebQoof team, Crime Prevention Council of India’s chairperson Dr SK Pandey said the notice is misleading, and that it was issued by the officer without any consultation.
“The notice was released under our NGO’s letterhead, but the content of the notice should not be believed as it was released by an officer who sent the notice on WhatsApp without any consultation from senior members of the NGO,” he said.
"As an NGO, we can only offer public service announcement and help people become politically aware. We cannot force such a decision, dictating what to share and what not to share on social media,” he said, adding that it is not the job of a district officer of an NGO to issue notices announcing decisions which can only be taken by the top most authority, the Election Commission of India.
While the post does not claim that such sharing of political content on social media can ‘sway sentiments among voters and have an impression on people's minds’, Dr Pandey said that the person who issued the notice wanted to reiterate this specific concern.
“An action against people who attempt to influence an impressionable mind of a voter can only be taken by the Election Commission and not by an NGO,” he told The Quint.
The district officer of the NGO has been suspended for issuing the notice, Dr Pandey said.
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