Political online ads to be made accountable in US

In 2009, politicians in India “flirted” with the internet during the general elections. Except for Shashi Tharoor nobody is notably active on the internet.

In the US, Obama brought a new angle to online advertising during the Presidential elections. When it comes to online campaigning, the state of Maryland wants accountability from politicians (on the lines of Florida),

  • Maryland could require political campaigns to store all digital ads, Twitter and Facebook posts, and text messages.
  • The proposed rules – which call for a disclosure line on digital campaign communications – are intended to ensure that voters can tell the difference between an official campaign message and a phony one.
  • The state will prepare draft of rules for the use of social media and online ads (would be interesting to see this draft)
  • Blogs or other social media accounts established for distributing videos, photos, or podcasts would also be required to feature the disclaimer.
  • Because Twitter posts are limited to 140 characters, the state would require the authority line on micro-blog account profile pages, or on landing pages or homepages associated with the accounts.

How is it in India? We need to bring accountability to all forms of political advertisement in India. We read every time about “Rs 2 per kg of rice”, “Free sarees”, “Eradication of poverty (or is it eradication of the poor?)” – as we all know none of this is ever fulfilled simply because they were never meant to be true.

Recently Bihar saw an advertisement from BJP which embarrassed the current Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. Nobody knows who paid for that advertisement. I guess we need to first bring accountability on the spending on these campaigns in India, next we will worry about what they really said in the campaign.

Leave a Reply