Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Ayodhi Prasad Yadav has said the Election Commission (EC) has totally focused on the elections taking place in 32 districts on November 26.
Taking part in a dialogue on ‘Mass media and elections’ organized by the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) in its central office at the media village as a chief guest today, the CEC said that how to ensure larger participation of voters in the elections (House of Representatives and State Assemblies) was the concern of the EC in the context when people of highlands have started migrating temporarily to warmer places, owing to natural adversities.
The arrival of snowfall in mountainous districts had forced the people to leave their settlement in search warmer places which is likely to affect the participation of voters in the elections. The EC was in touch with the authorities concerned including Chief District Officers, Chief Election Officers and Election Officers on the ways to ensure the larger people’s participation in the elections.
As stated by the EC, the printing of ballot papers for the second round of elections going to be held in 45 districts is underway. To date, election publicity campaign is going on peacefully. Though security threats have seen in some parts of the country as the elections are around the corner and the EC is fully confident that the government will be able to timely intervene in such challenges and address them. Security is the major issue for elections to make the elections successful and the government will be able to deal with this effectively.
On the occasion, the CEC urged political parties to exercise their intelligence and conscience as a tool for the election, not as a weapon.
He utilized the time to urge journalists to abide by their professional ethics and election code of conduct while observing and analyzing the election-related affairs and disseminating their opinions. The probable implication of any piece of write-up about the election should be kept in mind, he asserted.
Acknowledging the leading role of journalists in the establishment of democracy, federalism and republic, he said, election was the means of institutionalizing such achievements and same sort role was expected from media to create an atmosphere conducive to hold the election in a free and fair way. Requesting journalists to view the ongoing preparations for the elections through a positive approach and disseminate the news accordingly.
“Journalists are watchdog of democracy and republic,” and he urged media houses to give a due coverage to election news, contribute to voters’ education and bring out flaws of the political parties election publicity campaign.”
“It is better to light a candle rather than to curse the darkness,” he said.
Also speaking on the occasion, former Chief Election Commissioner and president of National Election Observation Committee, Surya Prasad Shrestha, said, “Election is a must for enforcing the constitution and the role of journalists is important and equally sensitive before, during and after any election.”
He went on to say that Nepal was taking a great stride through the means of elections in course of the enforcement of constitution.
Director General of Department of Information Bir Bahadur Rai requested the media and journalists to fulfill their roles and responsibilities in an impartial way in the elections.
National Human Rights Commission’s member Govinda Prasad Sharma, expressing his concerns over of the use of children in election publicity campaign, urged the Election Commission to be a bit action-oriented in response to the cases of violation of election code of conduct.
Presiding over the program, FNJ chairman Govinda Acharya said it was all our responsibility to make the elections successful, pledging professional support and cooperation from the entire media sector to the government and EC to conduct the elections smoothly.