The IMC Bites Back
On August 1st, the IMC released a list of recommendations for the media following a one day forum on “the role of the media in the 2012 Elections”. Speaking at the communiqué launch at the IMC boardroom, Rod Mac Johnson said this is the direction we want the media to pursue leading up to the election. The session which was organized in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) attracted journalists and representatives of media institutions and organizations, the forum provided a platform to discuss the conduct of the media before, during, and after the November 17, 2012 general election.
After deliberations on the theme of proceedings, the participants resolved as follows:
- That Parliament passes into law the revised IMC Act and Media Code of Practice.
- That media houses be mindful of the language they publish/broadcast either directly or from politicians, so as not to undermine the peace and stability of the State.
- That IMC be more robust in monitoring the content of information disseminated especially along ethnic lines and bring to book defaulting journalists.
- That media houses with support from IMC organize regular in-house refresher courses on political reporting to enable journalists focus their coverage more on issues than personalities.
- That journalists publish/broadcast messages advocating non-violence before, during, and after elections.
- That media practitioners ensure a clear separation between their role and any political interests/intentions they may have. Journalists who wish to enter the political arena are to resign themselves from their media institutions to which they belong, to guard against conflict of interest.
- That IMC, SLAJ and the Guild of Editors be more robust in addressing the issue of Conflict of interest among independent newspapers who assume the roles of mouthpieces and cause problems through biased reportage.
- That journalists implement the ideals of international best practice in the fair allocation of air time/space.
- That the IMC demands that the SLBC make public their Elections Guidelines immediately.
- All registered media houses couch clear cut guidelines as to how they carry out political broadcasting/advertising, subject to the supervision of the IMC.
- All media organizations, in view of universal standards, apply affirmative action in the coverage of women political candidates during the 2012 electioneering period.
- That the security forces ensure the safety and security of journalists throughout the electioneering process.
- That the accreditation of foreign journalists should be done by the IMC.
Following the deliberations and recommendations outlined above, participants at the IMC/UNDP organized Media Forum on 9th July 2012 approved the statements and recommendations, noting their commitment to ensure free, fair and violence-free General elections.
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