Several provisions of the Election Commission of Nepal’s code of conduct regulated the activities of mass media over the course of the electoral cycle. One provision stated that the transmission of news should be unbiased and based on facts, without giving special treatment to any one candidate or party. The code of conduct further required media outlets to respect the legal 48-hour silence period. To monitor adherence, the ECN established a media-monitoring center. It also provided training to district-level journalists on how to report on election-related matters.
Election-related news received broad coverage on television and radio and in the print media. Television and local FM radio stations frequently hosted candidate debates and question-and-answer sessions with the public, and a number of media outlets carried paid advertisements for political parties. According to Carter Center’s observation in 2013 Constituent Assembly Election, the observers noted that local FM radio stations, in particular, were an important source of information in rural and remote areas where newspaper distribution is limited or delayed and the illiteracy rate is higher. The ECN also made extensive use of electronic media for their voter outreach program.
Government owned mass media should adhere to the following:
- The mass communication media (audio, visual and print) functioning under the control of His Majesty’s Government shall be completely impartial and shall have no prejudice against any of the political parties or candidates.
- The opportunity to present candidates and their respective policies and view points to the voters should be made available by the mass media. The arrangements for media time must be based on clear and just standards.
- Attractive audio visual and print material encouraging voters to cast their votes without fear shall be published and broadcast to the maximum extent possible.
- No publicity aimed at influencing voters on the basis of religion, community, or caste is allowed.
- No materials to arouse the feeling of illusion, jealousy, terror, excitement, or violence are to published or produced, or to be encouraged to be published.
- While collecting the news, editing, giving titles, publishing photos or cartoons, writing editorials, reactions, reports, descriptions, discussions, analyses, questions, answers or any type of audio, visual or print materials, publicity shall not be aimed at influencing the voters in favor of a particular political party or candidate.
- During multiparty events, a program moderator must play an impartial role.
- Government media shall keep cassettes or duplicates of materials mentioned they produce or publish, and submit them to the Election Commission if requested.
LINK : Nepal CA Election Happened Both in Ballot And in Social Media [Buzz Analysis Report] #NepalVotes (Aakar Tech: 2013)
LINK : Ujyaalo Online website – Website for reporting election observation from citizens with electoral news and information