NLD criticizes political broadcasting restrictions
National League for Democracy (NLD) spokesman U Nyan Win said that although political parties are allowed to air political broadcasts on radio and television, it is not free and there are restrictions.
“It is not free and fair,” said U Nyan Win. “But we don’t have privately-owned independent broadcasters, so we can do nothing.”
The Election Commission issued an announcement on 27 August, which contained nine-point restrictions. The announcement says that the broadcasts must not harm the consolidation and dignity of the Tatmadaw (the armed forces) and the state, security, or the rule of law. Moreover, the announcement says that broadcasts must not incite people to oppose the government.
In addition, political parties will have to submit the scripts of their broadcast material for approval by the Election Commission at least seven days ahead of the scheduled broadcasts.
The Election Commission, in cooperation with the Information Ministry, will scrutinize the scripts.
National Democratic Force (NDF) secretary U Nay Min Kyaw told Mizzima, “It is like we cannot even tell the people to cast votes for [our] party. When we meet with the commission, we will talk about these matters.”
The election commission will allow each of the 90 political parties that will contest the election to air political broadcasts on radio and television twice between 9 September and 6 November.
The National Unity Party (NUP) central executive U Tun Yi told Mizzima, “It is convenient for our party. Facts like these are also included in the Constitution, the Political Parties Registration Law and the code of conduct. So, it is nothing special.”
Political parties and the Union Election Commission [UEC] will meet on September 1.
Like restrictions for political parties in airing political broadcasts, there are also other restrictions related to the upcoming election. On Election Day, each media organisation can appoint only three reporters per township to cover electoral news.
Moreover, news media will have to obey the existing rules enacted by the UEC, electoral laws, and instructions given by the Information Ministry.
“News media cannot be restricted like that,” U Myint Kyaw, a member of the Myanmar Press Council (Interim), told Mizzima. “The Information Ministry’s instructions are a restriction on media.”
Furthermore, media will have to sign pledges with regards to covering electoral news. The UEC and the Myanmar Press Council (Interim) will meet on Sunday afternoon to discuss the matter of the news media having to sign the pledges, according to the Myanmar Press Council (Interim).
The National League for Democracy has taken issue with political broadcasting restrictions during the election campaign. Photo: Hong Sar/Mizzima