A non-partisan action plan on safeguarding elections and democracy from digital platforms and the misuse of social media has resulted out of a collective reflection by concerned civil society groups, including Common Cause, Internet Freedom Foundation, Free Software Movement of India, Association for Democratic Reform, and many former public servants, including Dr N. Gopalaswami and Dr S. Y. Quraishi, both former Chief Election Commissioners. We stand with these organisations and individuals demonstrating our support to the need for free and fair elections.
The statement is an urgent appeal to the Election Commission of India (ECI) to monitor the online spending of political parties for election campaigns, and not just spending by candidates. It makes six suggestions to uphold and defend the integrity of the next general elections. It asks the ECI to make it mandatory for political parties to disclose official Political Party/Individual handles on all major platforms such as Facebook, Twitter as well as lesser known platforms such as WeChat, Sharechat, TikTok, etc.
The statement has been endorsed by an array of leading citizens, academics, artists, former constitutional office holders, civil servants including Secretaries to the Government of India and retired CEC's and civil society members. As the parties are now preparing their manifestos, we urge them to consider the suggestions put forward.
Link to important documents:
- Statement: Safeguarding Democracy from Digital Platforms (link)