Violence during general elections: PPF launches election reporting mechanism for media
Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) on Saturday launched a reporting and monitoring mechanism for election related violence directed against media personnel and institutions. The reporting mechanism will facilitate journalists and other media personnel to report violence directed against them in the month leading up to the General Elections on July 25, to elect members of the national and provincial assemblies.
The monitoring system is being established to ensure that election-related attacks against media personnel and institutions do not go unnoticed as well as to monitor the response of state machinery to such attacks.
Incidents of election violence will be reported to PPF by telephone, email and WhatsApp and also on the Twitter.
The reports of each attack against media personnel and institutions will be brought to the notice of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) relevant federal, provincial and local authorities including caretaker ministers, officials in interior and home departments, police departments, district commissioners and others.
Reports of violence will also be forwarded to media associations such as All Pakistan Newspaper Society (APNS), Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE), Editors for Safety (EfS) and the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ).
PPF will follow up responses of media outlets to which the attacked journalists belonged, as well as with media associations and state authorities and will report on progress in bringing the perpetrators of violence to book.
The mechanism will help monitor implementation of Guideline 3 of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Code of Conduct for Media, which states that freedom of expression and the rights of journalists to report freely should be respected by all parties, candidates and state authorities during the election. There should be provision of full access to information during the election period and afterwards.
Guideline 5 of this code titled “Duty to Punish Attacks against Media Personnel and Property” obligates state authorities to make special efforts to investigate all acts of violence, intimidation or harassment directed against media personnel or the property or premises of a media outlet, and to bring those responsible to justice, particularly where the act was motivated by an intent to interfere with media freedom. Reports will also be forwarded to concerned political parties who are responsible for implementing the ECP Code of Conduct for political parties, contesting candidates, election agents and polling agents. Article 15 of this code states that political parties, candidates and election agents shall firmly restrain their workers from exerting undue pressure against the print and electronic media, including newspapers’ offices and printing presses, or resorting to violence of any kind against the media.