Sources

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Election Part

The Media

The media play a complex role in the electoral process, providing information to voters and a platform to parties and candidates while also serving a “watchdog” function. These roles require that the rights of members of the media be protected while at the same time requiring that the media respect the rights of others.

Issues


The Legal Framework and the Media

  • Key Obligations:
  • State Must Take Necessary Steps to Give Effect to Rights
  • Rule of Law

The principles of rule of law were promoted

  • While no electoral system is prescribed by international law, the system chosen must be consistent with international obligations and should be clearly stated in law. [?]
  • States should take measures to promote the principles of the rule of law. [?]
  • Laws and procedures must not be arbitrarily applied. [?]
  • All are equal before the law, and laws should be equally enforced. [?]

The laws regulating elections were equally enforced and were not arbitrarily applied

  • All are equal before the law, and laws should be equally enforced. [?]
  • States should take measures to promote the principles of the rule of law. [?]
  • Laws and procedures must not be arbitrarily applied. [?]

The legal framework for elections was consistent with international human rights

  • Laws must be consistent with international human rights. [?]

Pluralistic and Balanced Media

  • Key Obligations:
  • Transparency and Access to Information
  • Freedom of Opinion and Expression
  • Freedom from Discrimination and Equality Before the Law

A pluralistic media promoted citizen access to information, and the media was free to play an impartial and objective role in covering electoral issues

  • The structure of media ownership should be transparent. [?]
  • States should take steps to ensure a free and independent media. [?]
  • Public service media should ensure the public receive adequate and politically balanced information during election periods. [?]
  • The state should endeavor to ensure a pluralistic media that allows its citizens to access a variety of viewpoints and media outlets. [?]

Space in the media existed for political debate

  • During the electoral process there should be sufficient media space to allow for open questioning and debate between political leaders and candidates. [?]

The structure of media ownership was transparent so that citizens could better understand potential biases in their information sources

  • The structure of media ownership should be transparent. [?]

Independence of the Media

  • Key Obligations:
  • Freedom of Opinion and Expression

Editorial independence was protected, and the government did not abuse resources or influence to exert control over media content

  • Editorial independence should be protected and free from political or economic interference. [?]
  • States should take steps to ensure a free and independent media. [?]
  • Government officials should not abuse their legal resources or custody over public finance to exert control over media content. [?]

The media was able to express criticisms of the government

  • The media should not be prevented from expressing criticisms of the government. [?]

The media was not held liable for the reproduction of untrue statements made by others

  • Media should not be held liable for the reproduction of untrue statements made by others. [?]

There were no restrictions on people who may practice journalism by the state, though journalists may have regulated themselves

  • Restrictions on who may practice journalism are unlawful. [?]

Independent Body to Regulate Broadcasting During Elections

  • Key Obligations:
  • State Must Take Necessary Steps to Give Effect to Rights

The appointment and functioning of regulatory authorities of the media were transparent, and they were independent and protected from political interference. The media regulatory body acted in a transparent and impartial manner

  • The appointment and functioning of regulatory authorities should be transparent. [?]
  • The state should ensure that all public regulatory agencies are independent and protected from interference. [?]
  • The media regulatory body should act in an impartial and transparent manner. [?]

The state took the steps necessary to guarantee rights with regard to the media; for example, through the establishment of an independent body to regulate election broadcasts

  • States must take the steps necessary to give effect to human rights. [?]
  • An independent body to regulate election broadcasts may be established. [?]

Freedom of Expression and the Media

  • Key Obligations:
  • Freedom of Opinion and Expression

Free communication of information and ideas about public and political issues took place between citizens, candidates, and elected representatives

  • Free communication of information and ideas about public and political issues between citizens, candidates, and elected representatives is necessary. [?]

Freedom of opinion and expression by the media was respected throughout the electoral process. In addition, the media respected the freedom of opinion and expression of others

  • The right to freedom of expression applies to all forms of media, including the internet. [?]
  • The communication and circulation of ideas may not be restricted by any indirect means, such as abuse of government or private control over the media. [?]
  • Freedom of expression may only be restricted in limited cases, including in the interest of maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary. [?]
  • Freedom of expression may only be restricted in limited cases, including in the interest of territorial integrity. [?]
  • Freedom of expression may only be restricted in limited cases, including in the interest of public safety. [?]
  • Freedom of expression may only be restricted under certain circumstances as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society. [?]
  • Freedom of expression may only be restricted in limited cases, including in the interest of preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence. [?]
  • Freedom of expression may only be restricted in limited cases, including in the interest of protecting the reputation and rights of others. [?]
  • Freedom of expression may only be restricted in limited cases, including when an expression seeks to destroy other established rights. [?]
  • Free communication of information and ideas about public and political issues between citizens, candidates, and elected representatives is necessary. [?]
  • Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, whether through public speeches or other means. [?]
  • Freedom of expression includes unhindered communication with international bodies on matters of human rights. [?]
  • Freedom of expression should not be limited by the imposition of prior censorship. [?]
  • Freedom of expression may only be restricted in limited cases, including in the interest of national security. [?]

Hate Speech and Incitement to Violence

  • Key Obligations:
  • Freedom of Opinion and Expression

Advocacy of national, racial, or religious hatred that constituted incitement to discrimination, hostility, or violence was prohibited by law, and the law was enforced

  • Advocacy of national, racial, or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility, or violence should be prohibited by law. [?]
  • A silent period may be instituted immediately in advance of polling day, allowing voters to exercise their franchise freely and without undue pressure. [?]
  • Freedom of expression may only be restricted in limited cases, including when an expression seeks to destroy other established rights. [?]
  • Freedom of expression may only be restricted in limited cases, including in the interest of protecting the reputation and rights of others. [?]

Defamation

  • Key Obligations:
  • Freedom of Opinion and Expression

Claims of defamation were not used to suppress freedom of expression or to stifle the media or public debate and were not used to silence criticism of the government or its institutions

  • When considering claims of defamation, political figures and public officials should be subject to greater public scrutiny and criticism than other citizens. [?]
  • Defamation laws should only be used to protect individuals, never to prevent criticism of the government or institutions. [?]
  • The expression of an opinion or of a true statement may never constitute a valid claim of defamation. [?]

Remedies for defamation were proportionate and not excessively punitive

  • There should be a range of remedies available in the case of defamation, respecting the requirement that all remedies be proportional. [?]

Opinion Polls

  • Key Obligations:
  • Freedom of Opinion and Expression

The release of opinion polls was subject only to reasonable restrictions

  • Publication of opinion polls may be restricted until polling is complete. [?]

Campaign Silence Period

  • Key Obligations:
  • Freedom of Opinion and Expression

If there was a campaign silence period, it was of reasonable duration

  • A silent period may be instituted immediately in advance of polling day, allowing voters to exercise their franchise freely and without undue pressure. [?]

Voter Education and Debates

  • Key Obligations:
  • Freedom of Opinion and Expression

The media aired debates between candidates and provided voter education

  • During the electoral process there should be sufficient media space to allow for open questioning and debate between political leaders and candidates. [?]
  • The legal framework may require media to provide voter education and air debates between candidates. [?]
  • Parties and candidates must be able to communicate their opinions to the electorate. [?]
  • Freedom of expression may only be restricted under certain circumstances as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society. [?]

Access to Electoral Information

  • Key Obligations:
  • Transparency and Access to Information

The state proactively put in the public domain government information of public interest

  • States should proactively put in the public domain government information of public interest. [?]

The right of access to information was respected throughout the electoral process, including its relation to the media

  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including in the interest of preventing crime or disorder. [?]
  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including in the interest of protecting personal data. [?]
  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including when an expression seeks to destroy other established rights. [?]
  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including in the interest of public safety. [?]
  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including in the interest of maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary. [?]
  • Everyone has the right to seek and receive information. [?]
  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including in the interest of territorial integrity. [?]
  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including in the interest of protecting the reputation and rights of others. [?]
  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including in the interest of national security. [?]
  • An applicant for an official document should not be obliged to give reasons for requesting an official document. [?]
  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including in the interest of preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence. [?]

Freedom From Discrimination and the Media

  • Key Obligations:
  • Freedom from Discrimination and Equality Before the Law
  • Equality Between Men and Women

Female and male candidates received equal coverage

  • Women candidates should receive equal coverage to their male counterparts. [?]

News coverage of incumbents in the public media was not abused so that it constituted additional free airtime or print coverage

  • News coverage of incumbents in public media during electoral campaigns is permitted, but should not be abused, constituting additional free airtime or print coverage. [?]

Political parties and candidates had access to the public media on a nondiscriminatory basis

  • Political parties and candidates must have access to the public media on a non-discriminatory basis. [?]
  • If offered, free airtime should be distributed equally. [?]
  • If private media accepts paid advertising, the costs and conditions for advertising should be equally applied to all candidates. [?]
  • Access to the media should be guaranteed to all political parties and candidates and be fairly distributed. [?]
  • Equality refers not only to the amount of space provided but to the timing and location of such space. [?]

The media took steps to reach all segments of society, including those who speak minority languages or live in rural areas

  • Media outlets should take steps to provide access to marginalized groups. This may include the consideration of transmitting in minority languages and assuring broad coverage of rural areas. [?]

The regulation of the media promoted equality and absence of discrimination

  • Distinctions made on the basis of sexual orientation are to be considered discrimination. [?]
  • Discrimination must not be practiced based on sex. [?]
  • All are equal before the law, and laws should be equally enforced. [?]
  • Distinctions made on the basis of disabilities are to be considered discrimination. [?]
  • The state must perform both its "negative duty" to refrain from discrimination and its "positive duty" to prevent discrimination. [?]
  • Equality refers not only to the amount of space provided but to the timing and location of such space. [?]
  • Discrimination must not be practiced based on race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity and expression, migrant, refugee, repatriate, stateless or internally displaced status, genetic trait, mental or physical health condition, including infectious contagious condition and debilitating psychological condition, or other status at any time. [?]
  • Everyone has the right of equal access to any place or service intended for public use. [?]
  • Discrimination means any distinction, exclusion, restriction, or preference on the basis of race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, or national or social origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. [?]

Private Media Regulations

  • Key Obligations:
  • Freedom of Opinion and Expression

Private media, while not subject to the same regulation as public media, was generally fair and balanced in their coverage of the candidates and provided an equal opportunity for access to all candidates

  • Privately-held media should not necessarily be held to the same standards as public media. [?]
  • Private media may be subject to some restrictions, such as equal access for all candidates and fair coverage. [?]

Free Airtime and Paid Advertising

  • Key Obligations:
  • Freedom of Opinion and Expression
  • Freedom from Discrimination and Equality Before the Law
  • Transparency and Access to Information

Free airtime for candidates and parties was granted during peak viewing or listening hours

  • Free broadcasts should be aired during peak viewing and listening periods. [?]

Free airtime was distributed equally (amount of space and also the timing and location of the media space)

  • Equality refers not only to the amount of space provided but to the timing and location of such space. [?]
  • If offered, free airtime should be distributed equally. [?]

Limits on advertising spending (as political speech) were instituted only in the interests of promoting equality between candidates or parties

  • Spending on advertising can be limited to ensure equality of opportunity. [?]

Paid advertising on public media was identified as such, and the costs and conditions involved were reasonable and equally applied to all candidates and parties

  • If private media accepts paid advertising, the costs and conditions for advertising should be equally applied to all candidates. [?]
  • Paid advertising in the public media should be identified as such, and the costs and conditions involved should be reasonable and equally applied to all candidates and parties. [?]

Freedom of Movement and the Media

  • Key Obligations:
  • Freedom of Movement

Freedom of movement was guaranteed to all electoral stakeholders, including the media

  • Freedom of movement may only be restricted in limited cases, including in the interest of preventing crime. [?]
  • Freedom of movement may only be restricted in limited cases, including in the interest of protecting the rights and freedoms of others. [?]
  • Freedom of movement may only be restricted in limited cases, including in the interest of public health or morals. [?]
  • Everyone has the right to leave and return to his/her own country. [?]
  • Everyone has the right to freedom of movement within the borders of each state. [?]
  • Freedom of movement may only be restricted when provided by law, necessary in a democratic society, and consistent with other rights. [?]
  • Freedom of movement may only be restricted in limited cases, including in the interest of public order. [?]
  • Freedom of movement may only be restricted in limited cases, including in the interest of national security. [?]
  • Movement may be restricted, but such restrictions must be proportionate and be appropriate to achieve their protective function. [?]

Safety, Security, and the Media

  • Key Obligations:
  • Right to Security of the Person

Security of the person was guaranteed for all election stakeholders, including the members of the media

  • Members of the media have the right to security of the person. [?]
  • Everyone has the right to security of the person without arbitrary arrest or detention. [?]

Right to an Effective Remedy and the Media

  • Key Obligations:
  • Right to an Effective Remedy

A system to file complaints related to the media was available for all citizens

  • States must enforce a remedy when granted. [?]
  • A system to file complaints about media should be available to all citizens. [?]
  • Remedy should be available for complaints arising throughout the electoral process. [?]
  • States Parties are obliged to prevent a recurrence of the violation to the covenant. [?]
  • Effective redress requires disputes to be dealt with in a timely manner. [?]
  • The state must assure that everyone has a right to reply for incorrect information published about him/her. [?]
  • An effective remedy requires reparation for harm done. [?]
  • Cessation of a violation is an essential element of an effective remedy. [?]
  • The legal framework for elections should provide effective redress for violations of electoral rights. [?]
  • Individuals must have the right to a remedy for violation of their participatory rights relating to the election process. [?]
  • At times, an effective remedy may require States Parties to take interim measures. [?]
  • Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by a competent national tribunal for acts that violate his or her rights or freedoms. [?]

Protection of Sources

  • Key Obligations:
  • Transparency and Access to Information

The media was able to report on electoral issues, including from confidential sources without government interference

  • The right of the media to gather information, including from confidential sources without government interference, should be assured. [?]
  • States should consider measures to protect whistle-blowers. [?]

The media was given access to information, particularly with regard to allegations of corruption and related offenses

  • The media should be given access to information in cases of corruption and related offenses. [?]