EC formulating code of conduct for electronic media
ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan has started formulating a Code of Conduct for the state-controlled electronic media under which every political party would be given share in time to reach to the public.
EC sources told Dawn that the details of the code would be unveiled after the lifting of ban on political activities.
The military government has indicated to lift the ban from political activities after the scrutiny of nomination papers, giving hardly a month to the political parties to campaign.
An announcement by the EC on Thursday stated that the Chief Election Commissioner, Justice Irshad Hasan Khan (retired), had received a complaint from a political party alleging misuse of the state-controlled electronic media, i.e., PTV and Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation against it.
“The Election Commission shall soon formulate a Code of Conduct to be observed by the state-controlled electronic media, ensuring fair, unbiased and balanced coverage of the election-related activities so that no political party, leader or a contesting candidate would have any grievance in the matter.”
The announcement stated that the CEC had taken note of the complaint to ensure that the election coverage was not biased in favour of any particular political party, candidate or a leader and that the coverage on television was balanced and fair to enable the EC to ensure that the election was conducted honestly, justly, fairly and in accordance with law, and that discrimination against any political party, leader or a candidate was guarded against.
The EC announcement stated that the CEC expected that the instructions issued by the EC, from time to time, were faithfully complied with in letter and spirit by all concerned.
The EC stated that it had ample power to issue such directions or orders as it might deem appropriate for ensuring free, fair and transparent elections.
“These directions are not of directory nature but are enforceable and executable throughout Pakistan by the high court, as if the same had been issued by the high court.”
The announcement further said that Article 6 of the Election Commission Order, 2002, (Chief Executive Order No 1 of 2002), clearly specified that the Election Commission “shall have power to issue such directions or order as may be necessary for the performance of its functions and duties,” including an order for the purpose of securing the attendance of any person or the discovery or production of any document.
It stated to ensure that the elections were conducted in free, fair and peaceful manner and more smoothly, the EC had taken several innovative steps and measures in the recent past, particularly, its directive directing all the executive authorities not to use the state resources anywhere in Pakistan for unfair advantage nor to exercise undue influence affecting the interest of any person intending to contest elections, contesting candidate or a political party for participating in the forthcoming elections, 2002, in accordance with law.
The cabinet and establishment secretaries in the federation and chief Secretaries in the provinces have been particularly directed to ensure that the executive authorities in their respective jurisdiction shall act with neutrality and impartiality throughout the election process and shall not use official influence or governmental patronage in favour of a person intending to contest election or a contesting candidate or a political party in the forthcoming elections, in accordance with law.
Source: The Dawn