Confessions by politicians to EC belie claims of innocence by top newspapers, writes P. Sainath.
The political class is more honest than the media when it comes to ‘paid news’ during elections, judging by the fact that several poll candidates have owned up to this corrupt practice. At least, after the Election Commission and the Press Council of India shot off notices to them and held inquiries into the matter. They have acknowledged guilt by belatedly adding their “news” buying expenses to their election statement of accounts. Some candidates have accepted in writing that they bought what are now called, somewhat oxymoronically, “Paid News Advertisements.” But not a single one of the newspapers they say they gave their money to has accepted any wrongdoing. These are not just any papers. In readership terms, they include three top-ranked dailies.
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