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mains Test Series 2018
Q. Remove ban on exit poll: Discuss the need of removing the ban of exit polls.
Feb 17, 2017 Related to : GS Paper-2

Ans :

Introduction-

Online editor of the Hindi daily Dainik Jagran has been arrested for publishing an exit poll for the first phase of Uttar Pradesh elections. According to the order of election commission the publication of exit polls are banned till last phase of the election. The editor has been arrested for violation of model code of conduct.  

Issue-

  • Many observers are condemned the arrest of editor for doing his job of disseminating information received from another agency, a pollster called RDI. 
  • According to them, the arrest will tend to strengthen state intolerance of media and could create a climate of suppression of facts that citizens need to know in order to take informed decisions and form opinions.

Analysis-

  • The root of this trouble is the election commission’s (EC) prohibition of exit polls. According to the EC the results of such exit polls will influence voting behaviour during an election that plays out in multiple phases
  • The issue of influence of exit polls on polling is debatable, but even if it is conceded that exit polls influence voting behaviour, there is nothing wrong.
  • Leaders’ speeches and rallies, advertising etc will influence voting behaviour. It is impossible to ban all these things.  In this background, banning only exit polls are not justified.

What can be done-?

  • IF bans are removed, then multiple agencies compete among themselves to conduct exit polls, it is likely that they will contradict each other, thereby cancelling out whatever impact a single poll might have had. 
  • In this background, EC should remove ban, because such polls will create one additional source of information. Removing such gag orders on EC is most necessary in a democracy and it will create a market for opinion.

Conclusion-

Democracy gives choices for people, and EC should not infringe such choices. The ban on publication of exit polls is not desirable and such bans must be removed. These polls provide another source of information and which is the basic need of democracy.


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