New Delhi, May 19: With the much challenged two-and-half months Lok Sabha Elections coming to an end and news channels all prepared to predict the exit polls, the Election Commission on Sunday issued an advisory that Exit Polls can only be telecast on the evening of May 19 after the last phase of Lok Sabha election gets over.
The advisory issued by the apex poll conducting body, it has now become mandatory for new channels not to predict or telecast exit polls of Lok Sabha Elections 2019. This new restriction is applicable even for their websites and social media platforms for the first time. The rule is applicable for even Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim, Odisha and Arunachal Pradesh Assembly elections. Exit Poll Results And Predictions of Lok Sabha Elections 2019 Only After 6:30 PM Today, Says Election Commission.
Along with this, the advisory also mentioned clearly that TV, radio channels, cable networks, websites and social media platforms should ensure that the contents of programmes telecast/broadcast/displayed by them during the 48-hour period before the end of polls in each phase “do not contain any material, including views or appeals by participants that may be construed as promoting or prejudicing the prospect” of any particular party or candidate.
Let's look at some countries where exit polls are either banned or restrictions have been imposed.
Singapore: There's a total ban on exit polls in Singapore. The relevant sections of the Parliamentary Elections Act (Chapter 218) states:
78C.—(1) No person shall publish or permit or cause to be published the results of any election survey during the period beginning with the day the writ of election is issued for an election and ending with the close of all polling stations on polling day at the election.
78D.—(1) No person shall publish or permit or cause to be published on polling day before the close of all polling stations on polling day.
France: As per rules, there is a complete ban for 24 hours on exit polls ahead of voting day.
United Kingdom: In Britain, there are no restrictions on publishing the results of opinion polls, but exit polls results can’t be shared until the voting is over.
Germany: In this European country, it a criminal offence to release exit poll figures before all polling stations have closed. Lok Sabha Elections 2019 Phase 7 Polling: Catch live updates here.
Bulgaria: Like Germany, in Bulgaria, the announcement of the results of exit polls is illegal on the election day.
Italy, Slovakia, Luxembourg: In these three European nations, there is a ban on exit polls of more than seven days.
USA: The news channels are free to telecast opinion polls, but the television channels have themselves voluntarily impose upon themselves that they won’t report likely outcomes from exit polls before voting is over.