IFJ Supports Proposed Electoral Reporting Reforms in Malaysia

 

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) extends

its support to the proposal put forward by its affiliate, the National Union of

Journalists (NUJ), for reforms to electoral reporting in Malaysia.

 

On January 25, the NUJ submitted its proposal to Malaysia’s Parliamentary Select Committee

on Electoral Reforms, which has sought public submissions regarding proposed

measures to aid the conducting of free and fair elections. The Committee’s work

will feed into a report to be tabled for debate by legislators during

the March sitting of Malaysia’s

Parliament.

 

Changes proposed by the NUJ’s submission include:

 

-          For the Election Commission of Malaysia to form a

media-monitoring committee, mandated to issue guidelines to print, broadcast

and on-line media during the election period.

-          Campaigning by incumbent government and opposition

parties during the election period on state run news agencies to be allocated

based on the percentage of parliamentary seats won in the previous election

or on parliamentary seats being contested.

-          Equal time allocated to both the caretaker government

and opposition for live campaigning over broadcast media.

-          Equal access to purchasing of advertising space within

media publications to all political parties.

-          Commitments to fair and balanced reporting by all

public and private media.

-          For the media-monitoring committee to draft regulations

that enforce regulations related to conduct under the Election Act (1958), and

-          Oversight by the Electoral Commission to ensure that

police exercise diligence and promptness in approving permits for political

parties and independent candidates to conduct public meetings.

 

Although the current term of Malaysia’s

national government is not due to end until 2013, there has been widespread

media speculation that an early general election will be called in the first

quarter of 2012.

 

“Access to reliable and impartial information is a prerequisite for fair

and open elections”, said IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqui

Park.

 

“The IFJ urges Malaysia’s parliamentary select

committee on electoral reforms to give genuine consideration to the reforms

proposed by the NUJ, in order to ensure fair and balanced reporting during Malaysia next

election period”.

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0950

 

The IFJ

represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries

 

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