Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, June 24th, 2021

IEC Asks Media Not to Interview Candidates Until Campaign Starts

IEC Asks Media Not to Interview  Candidates Until Campaign Starts

KABUL - The Independent Election Commission (IEC) has asked media outlets not to interview presidential candidates before their election campaign is officially launched.
On the other hand, Afghanistan’s National Journalists Union (ANJU) says restricting media from interviewing candidates is against the media law.
The presidential election is scheduled for September 28. Eighteen individuals including Ashraf Ghani, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and some others have jumped into the presidential fray.
Mohammad Rafi Rafiq Seddiqi, head of IEC press committee, told reporters here today that media should observe accuracy, balance, privacy and respect cultural and Islamic values while covering elections.
He said media outlets should not interview candidates before the beginning of election campaign.
“Media cannot take opinions of candidates as analysts or interview them before electioneering formally starts,” he said.
He said media direct impacted on public mind and could make changes in a candidate’s votes, which was against the law.
“If media does not observe these points, the press committee would take disciplinary measures, it would first release an order for correction of the media outlet, for the second time it would be warned, for third time it would be fined 50,000 to 100,000 afghanis and for the last time it would be introduced to judiciary organs,” Seddiqi said.
In response to a question if the restriction would apply to the president and the CEO, both candidates, talking to government related programs, he said, “If leaders of the government participate in development programs, there would be no problem, the media should cover such events by explaining the original subject, not give it a campaign angle.”
However, Fahim Dashti,  ANJU head, said media outlets could interview presidential candidates. He said freedom of speech was the right of all the people and it was against the law if IEC was restricting it.
He said there was no restriction on the issue and no one could limit freedom of expression.  (Pajhwok)