Election commission to treat all media equally in polls
Thimphu, April 04, 2009: The Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) said it would not treat Bhutanese media – private and public – differently during the upcoming local elections.
According to chief election commissioner Kunzang Wangdi, unlike during the general elections last year, all media would be treated equally. Earlier, some media were given access while others were deprived from covering all events of the election process.
Bhutan Broadcasting Service TV was given privileged access during the counting of votes of the parliament polls while other reporters received the news through verbal statements given by the EC officials.
Despite that, the BBS TV and Radio did not cover the election well compared to other newspapers and news agencies. The EC also seemed not happy with how BBS covered the polls.
However, Bhutanese journalists will find more restrictions covering elections in the future with ECB drafting new rules for them. If the new draft is enforced, it would regulate the time limit for media visiting polling stations. Journalists will be allowed in the polling station for around five minutes.
The journalists will not be entertained to interview voters in the booth area. Reporters wanting to do so will do it from a distance of at least 100 m from the polling station.
Additionally, the commission will restrict any media organizations to conduct opinion or exit polls before the election results are declared.