Electoral Commission calls media’s attention to own reports

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The Electoral Commission for the Legislative Assembly election said yesterday that the local press is responsible for erasing or shutting down illegal comments or discussions on their social platforms during the course of the election.
Meeting local media outlet representatives yesterday on the year’s election guidelines, the chairman of the Commission, Tong Hio Fong, told reporters after the meeting that local media are advised to avoid reports that could create promoting certain candidates.
He added that campaigning is prohibited during the period between the announcement of the confirmed list of candidates and the official commencement of the election campaign, while any activity that can divert the attention of the public to certain candidates, or those directly or indirectly leading voters to vote for or against certain candidates, would be deemed as campaigning based upon the new electoral law.
But the chairman reiterated that the Commission valued both freedom of the press and speech.
Asked about the challenges to monitoring online social platforms, Mr. Tong said the Commission will set up a secretariat or assign related staff to supervise the establishments, adding that tip-offs are welcomed from all parties if there is suspicion.
Meanwhile, the Commission has set up an exclusive hotline and e-mail address for press enquires about this year’s legislative election.
Earlier this month, the Electoral Commission met incumbent legislators for their opinions on the guidelines for the year’s election, during which occasion many members expressed their concerns about character assassination during the campaign from competitors via news reports.
Legislators also expressed their concerns about how the Commission would handle false online reports or smears at that time.