Looking to Nov-8 general elections: responsible media help to ensure integrity of democratic process

The Union Election Commission is committed to holding the 2020 general elections meeting five standards: they are free, fair, transparent, reliable, and harmonious with the people’s desire.
Free and fair elections are a matter of dignity for country and the people.
A free and fair election does not depend only on voting rights, but also people’s participation and the right of freedom of expression and freely receiving information. Only then can the public exercise power by voting for public policies they want to see enacted.
There are differences between the 2015 and 2020 general elections. The coming general elections will be held amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. And the number of users of Facebook in 2020 is much higher than at the time of the 2015 elections. These two facts should also be taken into account when it comes to holding the 2020 general elections.
We are confident that the people will receive complete news about elections through balanced reporting by the nation’s media, though with different approaches. At the same time, the media are obliged to uphold their integrity by preventing distribution of hate speech and defamation through their platforms.
Coverage of elections places the same type of responsibility on professional journalists as coverage of any other subject. It goes without saying that they must respect professional ethics.
Fairness and balance are important aspects of journalistic responsibility. Fair and balanced election coverage means that individual stories, as well as the pattern of stories over a period of time, contain points of view from different parties and/or candidates. It is not always possible to make every story equally balanced but a fair or representative balance between the competing parties and candidates can be achieved in the multiple stories likely to be published or aired during the election period.
Media people have a key role to play in this: providing information and analysis, functioning as watchdogs and being a conduit for voters’ voices.
Only responsible media can make it possible for well-informed voters to freely make up their own minds.

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