Foreign polls analysts urge EC to uphold ethical media usage | Sunday Observer

Foreign polls analysts urge EC to uphold ethical media usage

The Election Commission (EC) should promulgate stronger guidance on the responsible and ethical use of media and promotional materials by candidates and their supporters during the election campaign, international election analysts releasing a statement with recommendations for Sri Lanka’s upcoming Presidential election said.International pre-election assessment delegation to Sri Lanka of International Republican Institute (IRI) and National Democratic Institute (NDI) said public and private media outlets have to follow this guidance ‘especially in relation to unbiased and equitable coverage of all candidates’.

Following the presidential election, the statement added, Parliament should consider legislation, in conjunction with the Election Commission, to curb hate speech, misinformation and disinformation in private media, while protecting freedom of expression and access to information.

The statement, released yesterday (12), comprises several recommendations proposed by IRI and NDI representatives who have met key stakeholders of the anticipated elections including members of the Election Commission, parliamentarians, representatives of media-related organisations and members of civil societies.

The recommendations are intended to address key challenges Sri Lanka faces ahead of the election, such as concerns regarding understanding of the preferential voting system, barriers to the full participation of women and other marginalised groups, partisan media coverage, and a lack of campaign finance laws.

In this regard, the analysts urge presidential candidates to make their asset and liability declarations public in a bid to increase transparency of electoral process and empower citizens to make more informed choices.