Election Commission issues code of conduct for electronic media
ISLAMABAD : The Election Commission on Thursday issued code of conduct for electronic media and directed the Pakistan Television Corporation and Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation to observe it in letter and spirit.
A meeting of the Election Commission was held here. Former Chief Justice Irshad Hassan Khan, Chief Election Commissioner of Pakistan presided over the meeting. All the four Members, Justice Mohammad Ashraf Leghari, Judge Sindh High Court, Justice Nasim Sikandar, Judge Lahore High Court, Justice Ahmed Khan Lashari, Judge Balochistan High Court and Justice Qazi Ahsanullah Qureshi, Judge Peshawar High Court attended the meeting.
A Code of Conduct to be observed by the Electronic Media was approved by the Election Commission, which reads thus:
“WHEREAS; under Article 218(3) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973, read with the Election Commission Order, 2002, as amended, it is the duty of the Election Commission to organise and conduct the election and to make such arrangements as are necessary to ensure that the election is conducted honestly, justly, fairly and in accordance with law, and that corrupt practices are guarded against.
AND WHEREAS it is expedient to formulate a Code of Conduct for electronic media ie Pakistan Television and Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation to ensure that the coverage on television relating to election related activities is fair, unbiased and balanced in respect of any particular political party, candidate or a leader to enable the Election Commission to ensure that the election is conducted honestly, justly, fairly and in accordance with law and that discrimination against any political party, leader or a candidate is guarded against. Complete justice in any matter pending before it and in order for the purpose of securing the attendance of any person of the discovery or production or any document and that any such direction or order shall be enforceable throughout Pakistan and shall be executed as if it had been issued by the High Court.
THEREFORE, in pursuance of the provisions of Article 218(3) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 read with Article 6 of the Election Commission Order, 2002, and in exercise of all other powers enabling it in that behalf, the Election Commission of Pakistan is pleased to formulate the following Code of Conduct for the Electronic Media ie Pakistan Television Corporation and Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation.
CODE OF CONDUCT FOR THE ELECTRONIC MEDIA: PAKISTAN TELEVISION AND PAKISTAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION FOR GENERAL ELECTIONS, 2002:
The coverage on the electronic media should be fair, balanced and unbiased in favour of any political party a candidate or a leader in respect of the following:
— Campaigning and excerpts from campaign
— Symbols, banners, flags and other campaign material of parties.
— Results of opinion polls by non-political, professional organisations with a proven track record.
— Party manifestos (critical analysis of which is also perfectly legitimate),
— Candidates and their views in different constituencies across the country.
— Debates between major parties and candidates.
— Analysis of previous voting patron, victory, margins etc
— There should be no coverage of any election operations or other material that incites violence.
— In any constituency, one candidate alone should act be projected. While it is not necessary to cover every single candidate (as some constituencies may have several candidates) at least the more important should be covered in any report from a constituency.
— No one political party should be given substantially more coverage than others. This balance need not be achieved in any single day or in a single story, but over a reasonable period of time, say one week.
— Balance does not mean each party must get exactly the same air time to the last second, but parties should be given broadly the same amount of time.
— Balance implies that to no reasonable person should appear that one political party is being projected to the exclusion of others.
The Election Commission approved the appointment of District Returning Officers, Returning Officers and Assistant Returning Officers for the forthcoming Central Elections, 2002 in all 109 District Returning Officers 878 Returning Officers and 945 Assistant Returning Officers have been approved to be appointed for National Assembly and the Provincial Assemblies for conduct of forthcoming General Elections 2002.
The Election Commission also decided that Hassan Mohammad, Secretary Election Commission will be official spokesman of the Election Commission of Pakistan. He can be contacted on the following telephone numbers: Office – 9206062, Residence 9260433 and Tele fax – 9203583.
Source: The Business Recorder