Election Commission (EC) Secretary Helaluddin Ahmed said no new policies are being formed for the media regarding the coverage of the upcoming local government and parliamentary elections.
However, he encouraged the media to follow the guidelines provided by the commission regarding news collection and live broadcast during polls-time.
He made the statement at the headquarters of the Election Commission of Bangladesh in Agargaon at a meeting with the press on Tuesday.
The meeting discussed policy formulation regarding news collection during the polls, broadcasting, report publishing, etc.
According to the instructions provided by the commission, the polling stations cannot be entered without the permission of the presiding officer. Journalists cannot interfere with the work of the officials stationed at the polling centres. The Election Commission also instructed journalists to not obstruct the polls by taking any actions in favour of or against any political party. They also have to abide all electoral laws and restrictions.
Regulators have proposed some new additions to the guidelines. According to those, pictures and videos cannot be taken while people are casting their votes. Officials and polling agents stationed at the polls-centres cannot be interviewed. Live broadcasts will not be allowed from the polls stations. Several journalists cannot enter the polls station at the same time.
The commission said that the media is working responsibly. If the existing laws are implemented properly, there will be no need to create new ones.
Helaluddin Ahmed said: “The media is a great help to us. We do not intend to enforce any new regulations. We want a free and fair election and we want the media to broadcast it within the limits of the existing regulations.
“We will make sure there are no misunderstandings between the media and the commission. However, if anyone breaks the rules, we will take action against them.
“We will see if we can work together with the media to publish the results of the polls as well as maintain discipline during polls-time.”
Election Commission Additional Secretaries Mokhlesur Rahman and SM Asaduzzaman, as well as Deputy Secretary Farhad Hossain were present at the program among others.
Media representatives Mostafa Firoz, Saidur Rahman, and Rasel Ahmed were also present at the event.