Election Commission issues media guidelines | Daily News


Election Commission issues media guidelines

The National Election Commission (NEC) in an Extraordinary Gazette on Wednesday issued a set of media guidelines for the upcoming General Election.

The 36-point media guidelines announced by the Election Commission stipulate that every media institution should provide accurate, balanced and impartial information in their news bulletins and any other programme relating to political matters.

The guidelines also direct all media to be neutral and impartial in their reporting of matters relating to the election and not to discriminate against any contesting political party, independent group or a candidate or confer special benefits to any of them in allocating airtime.

The NEC will appoint a ‘Permanent Representative Committee’ to monitor and ensure that the media guidelines are properly adhered to. The composition and members of the Committee will be announced by the NEC after the announcement of the Election date.

“Every presenter of programmes and announcer on television and radio channels shall refrain from expressing [their own] personal views, on programmes where newspaper headlines and cartoons are presented which may promote or prejudice one party,” the guidelines said.

With regard to broadcasting or publishing results of an opinion poll, the guidelines have asked to publish the name of the organization which conducted it, the organization or the person which commissioned and funded it, the methodology employed, the size of the sample, margin of error and the period of fieldwork.

“All Government and semi-Government media institutions shall refrain from the use of State property and funds to promote any political party, group or candidate or to cause loss to Government revenue or act so as to cause damage to any institution. In the event of the breach of this guideline, in addition to the penalties specified in the Constitution, disciplinary action may be instituted against those responsible,” the guidelines said.

“Every media institution shall refrain from broadcasting, telecasting or publishing material that may promote or induce hatred and intolerance among Sri Lankan people on various grounds including religious beliefs, faith, language, ethnicity, customs and caste,” the guidelines added.

The date of the General Election and the date of issuing the preferential vote numbers will be announced on Monday, National Election Commission (NEC) Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya earlier said.Observing that the NEC has received the green light of health authorities to go ahead with the Election, Deshapriya said the Gazette declaring the new date would be issued on Monday after a Commission meeting.

A health official would be deployed at each polling station. Around 5-7 polling stations would be clustered and a doctor, two nurses and a health assistant would be assigned to each of them.

Like mobile patrols, they will have to monitor each polling station under their purview about four times a day on the day of the Election and the day before.

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