Chief election Commissioner (CEC) Dinesh Kumar Thapaliya has urged the mass media to make the people aware of their voting rights by properly abiding by the election code of conduct. He described the mass media as a strong bridge between the Election Commission, the political parties and the voters.
He was addressing a programme organized to launch the code of conduct prepared by Association of Community Radio Broadcasters Nepal (ACORAB) for its member radio stations in the context of the May 13 local election here today.
The CEC opined that election which is a procedure by which the sovereign people give validity to the governance system by electing their representatives and the media is the right forum for disseminating political communication during the election period.
He expressed the belief that the code of conduct issued by the election Commission and the media code of conduct would be properly followed by the mass media as it is an important guide for making the citizen aware about their right to choose their representatives as well as their duties.
“Code of conduct is in itself a moral bond. It is also a tool of self-regulation and self-monitoring. It can be implemented by using the tool of self-assessment. We cannot even imagine of everyone not abiding by it as they have committed to abiding by it,” he said, adding that it is inhumane to project asocial character in the social media and harm the self-respect of people by questioning their character in the run up to the election.
The CEC called on all to be committed to disseminate misinformation, disinformation and hateful statements in the social media. He also urged all to give out the message that all the elections in the country could be conducted in a systematic, dignified and fear-free environment by abiding by the code of conduct.
“The code of conduct is that umbrella, the handle of which is being held by the Commission. There should not be two sides here – one side trying to hold on the umbrella and the other side trying to keep it away. If that happens, then both sides will get drenched in the rain. So, there is no alternative to strictly following the code which we both sides have together prepared,” CEC Thapaliya said, stressing on the need of strict abidance of the code.
He appreciated the role of Nepali Press in the nation’s political transformation advocating for democracy, freedom, human rights and free and fair election.
The Chief Election Commissioner believed that the media which carries with it the ‘pen and the voice’ for building an open and prosperous society will play the same role for making the local level election free, fair and fear-free.
The code of conduct with ‘Dos and Don’ts for radio and broadcasters’ during election period was launched at the programme also attended by the Election Commission spokesman and joint secretary Shaligram Sharma Poudel, the leaders of the journalism sector and representatives of media houses and organisations.
Three hundred and sixty radio stations are affiliated to ACORAB and the code is binding to all of them, Association president Arjun Giri pledged on the occasion.