Info minister issues poll guidelines
Primaries, vote-buying banned • Media coverage curbed
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
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.