Info min­is­ter is­sues poll guide­lines

Pri­maries, vote-buy­ing banned • Me­dia cov­er­age curbed

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

The min­is­ter of in­for­ma­tion has is­sued a min­is­te­rial res­o­lu­tion stip­u­lat­ing a to­tal ban on pri­maries, mud­sling­ing among hope­fuls for par­lia­men­tary seats and grant­ing “fi­nan­cial in­cen­tives” to vot­ers. Min­is­ter of In­for­ma­tion and Min­is­ter of State for Youth Af­fairs Sheikh Sal­man Sabah Al-Salem Al-Hu­moud Al-Sabah is­sued the min­is­te­rial res­o­lu­tion (143/2016), set­ting terms and re­stric­tions for the me­dia cov­er­age and pro­mo­tion of the forth­com­ing par­lia­men­tary and mu­nic­i­pal elec­tions.

The first ar­ti­cle of the res­o­lu­tion stip­u­lates that it goes into force as of the date of its pub­li­ca­tion, or the pub­lish­ing of the de­ci­sion call­ing for the par­lia­men­tary and the mu­nic­i­pal elec­tions, in the of­fi­cial gazette till the dec­la­ra­tion of the polls’ re­sults.

The res­o­lu­tion, in its sec­ond ar­ti­cle, slaps a ban on pub­lish­ing, broad­cast­ing or re­broad­cast­ing calls for pri­mary elec­tions and those in­volv­ing or pro­mot­ing such votes, in ad­di­tion to pro­hibit­ing any ac­tion that might un­der­mine “the elec­tions’ free­dom or its sys­tem”. All au­dio­vi­sual or elec­tronic me­dia, reads the third pro­vi­sion, are obliged to dis­tin­guish be­tween nom­i­nees’ “news and ad­ver­tise­ments, by un­der­lin­ing the lat­ter with such a term.”

Me­dia cov­er­age of the elec­tions must be free of any words, pic­tures, sym­bols, writ­ten terms or draw­ings that might be deemed as of­fen­sive to the nom­i­nees or oth­ers, di­rectly or in­di­rectly, reads the fourth item. “It is pro­hib­ited that the pro­mo­tion or the cov­er­age of the elec­tions im­ply fi­nan­cial in­cen­tives, ei­ther paid or promised with the aim of stim­u­lat­ing the vot­ers to cast their votes for a cer­tain can­di­date or ab­stain from cast­ing their bal­lots,” says the fifth ar­ti­cle of Sheikh Sal­man’s res­o­lu­tion.

Au­dio­vi­sual and elec­tronic me­dia as well as the press, when pub­lish­ing or broad­cast­ing opin­ion polls and sta­tis­tics, must ad­here to the fol­low­ing: First, men­tion­ing the party that con­ducted the opin­ion poll or means of gath­er­ing the sta­tis­tics, num­ber of the polled per­sons, the date and means of as­sem­bling the in­for­ma­tion. More­over they must be is­sued by com­pa­nies that are li­censed by rel­e­vant state au­thor­i­ties.

The sec­ond ar­ti­cle of the res­o­lu­tion bans pub­li­ciz­ing re­sults of opin­ion polls and sta­tis­tics dur­ing the day of bal­lot­ing or the day be­fore. Thirdly, it bars pub­li­ciz­ing out­come of the elec­tions, turnout or pro­por­tions be­fore an­nounce­ment by of­fi­cial sources. The sev­enth ar­ti­cle pro­hibits broad­cast­ing or re­broad­cast­ing in­ter­views, re­ports in­volv­ing the nom­i­nees for elec­tion of the Na­tional As­sem­bly or the Mu­nic­i­pal Coun­cil - or on their be­half - dur­ing the bal­lot­ing day or the pre­ced­ing day.

The eighth term bars broad­cast­ing re­ports, ar­ti­cles or re­ports about the can­di­dates un­less they con­form with rules of the laws 3/06, 16/07 and 08/16. The ninth item stip­u­lates form­ing a com­mis­sion tasked with mon­i­tor­ing the me­dia dur­ing the elec­toral process to en­sure ad­her­ence to the set rules and laws. The panel is en­ti­tled to re­ceive complaints and re­ports and “tak­ing the proper mea­sures in this re­spect”.

The 10th ar­ti­cle reads that in cases where terms of this res­o­lu­tion have been breached, the rules out­lined in law 35/62 and its amend­ments, along with the law 3/06, are to be ap­plied. The 11th ar­ti­cle re­peals the min­is­te­rial res­o­lu­tion 78/12. The 12th says the rel­e­vant au­thor­i­ties are in­structed to im­ple­ment this de­ci­sion, each ac­cord­ing to the set ju­ris­dic­tions. The res­o­lu­tion is to be pub­lished in the gazette and ad­hered by, ef­fec­tive the date of pub­li­ciz­ing it. — KUNA

— Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

KUWAIT: Is­lamist can­di­dates, for­mer MPs and op­po­si­tion lead­ers (from right) Nayef Al-Mer­das, Mo­hammed Hayef Al-Mu­tairi, Osama Al-Me­nawer, Walid Al-Tabtabaei and Bader Al-Da­houm pose yes­ter­day as they ar­rive at the de­part­ment of elec­tions to regis­ter for the up­com­ing par­lia­men­tary polls.

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