EC issues guidelines for journalists over national polls

DHAKA, Dec 23, 2018 (BSS) – The Election Commission (EC) has issued a number of guidelines for journalists over the 11th parliamentary election slated for December 30.

The journalists who will collect information of the polls should abide by the guidelines, said a letter signed by EC Joint Secretary SM Asaduzzaman.

As per the guidelines, journalists can collect information, take photographs and shoot videos of the voting activities after informing the concerned presiding officers. But they must abstain from taking photos and videos of the secret booths where voters go to put the seal on the ballot according to their choice.

However, more than one journalists will not be allowed to enter a polling station at a time and broadcast live from the polling room on TV or social media, it said.

They (journalists) can telecast live from a center maintaining ‘safe distance’ from the voting rooms. They will not be allowed to create any bar in voting activities. They can see vote counting activities, but not be able to telecast live, the guidelines said.

Journalists must obey the lawful order of the presiding officers and they will not be allowed to interfere in any work of the polling officers. They will not be allowed to touch or remove any polls materials. They must abstain from publishing or telecasting any news in favor of or against any candidate while collecting information during the polling.

The guidelines said if any journalist violates any of these codes of conduct, legal actions will be taken against him/her or the organization concerned according to the election law.

The guidelines have already been sent to the returning officers. The guidelines mention that the role of media is vital for holding a free, fair and peaceful election.

Approved persons of the EC can enter the voting centers. For this, the EC will provide special cards to concerned journalists so that they can collect information. The returning officers will provide the cards in their respective areas. Journalists of upazila level can collect their cards from the concerned returning officers or assistant returning officers.

However, journalists and election observers can travel by vehicles using the stickers provided by the EC.

But the EC will not provide any sticker to journalists for using motorbikes.