A Supreme Court panel has suggested that government advertisements should not contain photographs of political leaders or the flags and symbols of ruling parties. “If it is felt essential for effective government messaging, only photographs of the President, Governor, Prime Minister or Chief Minister should be used,” the three-member panel said.
The panel, headed by Prof N.R. Madhava Menon, ex-Director of the National Judicial Academy at Bhopal, was appointed on 23 April 2014.
It had been asked to suggest guidelines for preventing Central and State governments from carrying out huge publicity campaigns, at the cost of the exchequer, through advertisements in the print and electronic media along with photos of not only ministers but also political leaders.
Official advertisements should not promote the interests of the ruling party. Rather, it should maintain political neutrality and avoid glorification of political personalities and projecting a positive impression of the party in power or a negative impression of opposition parties, the panel suggested.
The SC had set up the panel in its verdict on a PIL by NGOs Common Cause and Centre for PIL.
The panel also suggested that the government appoint an independent and eminent expert as the ombudsman to receive complaints of violations of the proposed guidelines and recommend action.