New Delhi: As many as 694 cases of paid news - or news for which the media organisations took money to publish or broadcast - were detected by the Election Commission in this election, official said.
By the time the ten phases of the polls ended to form the 16th parliament on May 12, thousands of cases of paid news were reported, according to EC officials. In 3,053 cases, notice was issued by the EC suspecting a foul play, an official said.
"We served 3,053 notices, 694 of which were found to be genuine cases of paid news by our Media Certification and Monitoring Committee," EC Director General Akshay Rout told IANS.
"We define paid news as those items which are published as news but are advertisement in nature," he added.
"There is no accountability in the media. While some candidates willingly pay for positive coverage, in most other cases candidates have to pay to prevent negative coverage. The media is getting increasingly criminalised, and acting as extortionist," noted columnist and commentator Swapan Das Gupta told IANS.