Media and Elections

The three-day Regional Workshop on Media and Elections supported by the tripartite partnership of AIBD, Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU) and Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) came to a successful conclusion in Kuala Lumpur on 27 June 2012.

The workshop was conducted by Savyasaachi Jain, who is with the University of Westminster in London. It was attended by 15 participants from Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Oman, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Vietnam.

During the three days from June 25-27, a number of topics were covered. These included the role of media in democracy, country-specific election scenarios, understanding election regulations and electoral systems, what politicians and citizens expect from the media during elections, media coverage during various stages of an election, ethics and codes and conduct, and planning election programming. Special attention was paid to the safety of journalists during elections and in violent situations. The consultant, Savyasaachi Jain, also used game theory and conflict theory to explore various aspects of the media’s role during elections.

During the workshop, the participants worked on laying down ethical guidelines and producing codes of conduct in teams. They also prepared and presented individual programming plans suited to their own country-specific situations, and there was a great degree of cross-fertilisation and exchange of ideas.

The consultant, Savyasaachi Jain, said: “It was a very interactive workshop and the part icipants – even those from countries where democracy is in a nascent stage – displayed a great understanding of the role that the media can and should play during elections. The codes of conduct and the programming plans developed by the participants showed great insight. I am confident that many of the participants will make a difference to the coverage of elections by their organisations in the future.”