Govt warns media to follow ethics

Govt warns media to follow ethics

The Union Election Commission (UEC) has issued another warning to media outlets covering the election campaign, this time singling out the BBC in their criticism.

Citing a BBC Burmese broadcast in which a trishaw driver alleged the ruling Union Solidary and Development Party gave cash and electronics as incentives in return for votes on election day, the UEC called on all media to follow ethics.

“Media should follow their ethics because biased reporting can damage the freeness and fairness of the election,” said a statement published in state-run daily Global New Light of Myanmar.

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The statement is not the first time Naypyidaw has attempted to temper the media’s reporting in recent weeks.

In the lead-up to the signing of the much-anticipated Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement, the government instructed media outlets to refrain from referring to ethnic rebel leaders by their chosen military titles.

On 16 October, Myanmar Institute Democracy (MID) published their findings on a study of coverage and airtime given to parties in the first month of campaigning in the lead-up to polling day.

In a cross-section of television broadcasting hours, online and print publications, MID found state broadcaster MRTV devoted some 31.1 percent of coverage to the government, and 36.6 percent to President Thein Sein, with a significantly positive, or neutral, tone to the coverage. By comparison, DVB allotted 28 percent of time to the authorities, with the remainder going to alternative parties, including opposition party National League for Democracy.

MID said that DVB has presented the audience with “a balanced coverage of political and election-related information so far,” and noted that smaller, independent political parties also receive sufficient coverage.

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