NLD crit­i­cizes po­lit­i­cal broad­cast­ing re­stric­tions

Mizzima Business Weekly - - CONTENTS - Hein Ko Soe

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

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