The Supreme Electoral Commission (SEC) revealed Saturday the formation of sub-committees to monitor media coverage of the upcoming parliamentary elections.
The sub-committees’ powers include forcing media outlets to publish criticism of its editorial policy in cases of violating “professional regulations and ethics”.
According to a decree issued by the SEC, one of the sub-committees includes representatives of the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones (GAFI), state-run and private media organisations, the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) and public figures.
The committee will be responsible for reporting on the daily coverage of the elections, analysing the coverage and evaluating “the behaviour of media and the extent of adhering to the regulations of the [electoral] campaigns set by the constitution, laws or decrees of the SEC”.
Another committee that includes representatives of the Press Syndicate, National Council for Human Rights (NCHR), the Ministries of Interior, Religious Endowments, Planning, Higher Education, Social Solidarity, among other authorities, will be responsible for communicating with the respective ministries and authorities on what the first committee reports.
A third committee, formed by members of the SEC’s general secretary, will be responsible for giving opinions on the reports it receives from the aforementioned committees to the SEC.
In case of proven violations in the media coverage, the SEC will be entitled to either: mandate the media outlet to publish an apology, in case it admits its mistake in its response to the commission, and pledge not to commit violations in the future; mandate the media outlet to publish a criticism by the commission of its editorial policy regarding its coverage; or prevent the media outlet from covering the elections within a period set by the commission.
The decree was issued Saturday following two other decrees by the commission that opened the application process for international and local media outlets and NGOs to observe the upcoming parliamentary elections.
The SEC issued two decrees to regulate media and NGOs’ applications for the elections that are set to be held before the end of the year. Parliamentary elections were postponed in March, due to the unconstitutionality of the parliamentary elections law.