ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has slapped a complete ban on exit and entrance polls.
This ban will also be applicable to official digital media accounts of print and electronic media outlets as well as social media influencers regarding running campaigns of candidates and political parties at the cost of public exchequer.
The ECP, through a code of conduct for the upcoming general polls shrouded by mystery, has also barred any kind of surveys at any polling station or constituency that may influence voters’ free choice of casting vote.
An exit poll is an opinion of voters leaving polling stations, asking how they voted. Similarly, an entrance poll is conducted before people enter polling stations to cast vote.
“If any print, electronic and digital media platform accepts paid political advertisement from a candidate or a political party, it shall provide details of expenditure made by political party or candidate to ECP as per law,” the code stated.
The code of conduct says during election campaign the content floated on print, electronic and digital media, shall not reflect any opinion prejudicial to the ideology, sovereignty, uprightness or security of Pakistan, public order or the integrity and independence of the judiciary of Pakistan.
The code further stated that allegations and statements which might harm national solidarity or may create a law-and-order situation during election campaign and on polling day will strictly be avoided on print and electronic media and by any media person, newspaper and channel operating official account on digital media and other social media influencers,” it declared.
It stated the content on print and electronic media, any media person, newspaper, channel operating official accounts on digital media and social media influencers shall not include any aspect that might be construed as personal attack on candidates or political parties on basis of gender, religion, sect, caste, baradari etc.
In case of violation, the victim may complain and take legal action on appropriate forum. “If a candidate makes an allegation against another candidate, media should seek comments from both the sides,” it reminded media professionals.
The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra), Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), Press Information Department (PID), Cyber Wing and Digital Media Wing of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MoIB) will monitor the coverage given to political parties and candidates for their election campaigns through electronic channels, print and social media.
Journalists, print, electric and digital media, social media influencers and media houses will launch civic and voter inclusive education programmes, especially targeting marginalised groups such as women, transgenders, youth, minorities and differently abled persons throughout the election period to maximize voters’ turnout and ensure their participation in electoral process.
The accredited media persons shall be allowed to enter a polling station (along with camera) only once for making footage of the voting process, but they shall ensure secrecy of the ballot and not make footage of the screened off compartment.