The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has asked the media to refrain from disseminating misinformation about a political party or a candidate during its coverage of the upcoming local government election in the province.
In a code of conduct for media coverage of the local government elections issued on Sunday, the ECP says that the media should not broadcast or publish anything that may adversely affect public opinion about a particular party or candidate. It also stops the media from giving remarks about personal life of candidates.
The code directs the media to broadcast and publish election results that have been issued by the presiding or returning officers concerned appointed by the commission.
It includes directives against use of language in media reporting that could incite violence against people identifying with a particular race, sex, language and religion.
It also prevents use of speech that could harm national solidarity or jeopardise law and order. The ECP has asked the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to ensure compliance with the code of conduct by television and radio channels.
In the first phase, local government election will be held in 12 districts of the province on October 31.
As many as 20,085,329 voters, including 11,310,912 men and 8,774,417 women, will cast ballots in these districts to elect their municipal representatives.
The districts covered in the first phase are: Lahore, Chakwal, Lodhran, Vehari, Okara, Pakpattan, Bahwalnagar, Faisalabad, Bhakar, Kasur, Nankana Sahib and Gujrat.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 21st, 2015.
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