ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday issued the code of conduct and guidelines for local media for the coverage of the upcoming polls.
According to the code of conduct, it the media’s responsibility to provide citizens with the correct information. Moreover, impartial reporting has been made mandatory by the electoral body.
13 guidelines for media
- Duty to inform the public
- Duty of Balance and Impartiality
- Laws restricting freedom of expression
- Duty to respect and promote tolerance
- Duty to punish attacks against media personnel and property
- Limits on prior restraint
- Limits on media liability
- Corrections and replies
- News coverage: fair and balanced
- Direct access programmes
- Special information programmes and voter access
- Voter education
- Opinion polls and election projections
The guidelines state that programmes biased in favour of or against any candidates or parties are not to be broadcast.
A ban, through the code of conduct, has also been imposed on reporting based on rumours and speculations.
On Tuesday, the ECP issued a 16-point code of conduct for foreign observers and international media for the upcoming polls, warning that the permission granted to international observatory missions can be cancelled if the code of conduct is violated.
According to the code of conduct, international observers and foreign media are required to submit an affidavit to cover the general election scheduled for July 25.
The code of conduct states that ‘political impartiality shall be maintained by observers and media at all costs while observing the election and shall not exhibit any bias or preference with regard to political parties and candidates as well as any issue related to the process of election’.
International observers and media have also been barred from including personal opinions in official reports.
ECP also clarified that observers and media people cannot stay in the country after their visa expires.