PSC: EC can direct ministry to ensure fair media access during polls
By Clara Chooi
April 03, 2012
KUALA LUMPUR, April 3 — The Election Commission (EC) can compel the government to ensure all parties are given free and fair access to the media during an election campaign period, the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on polls reform said in its report today.
This, said the panel, is provided for under Article 115(2) of the Federal Constitution, which stipulates that the EC can seek assistance from public authorities to discharge its duties.
“[These public authorities]... include the ministry and its relevant agencies, on matters related to free and fair access to media for all parties and candidates contesting an election,” the PSC said in its report.
The panel said it has also taken note of the Information, Communications and Culture Ministry’s “readiness” to grant fair media access to all parties and candidates in a poll.
“The committee recommends that the EC observes Article 115(2) of the Federal Constitution,” it said.
Opposition lawmakers and civil society groups have been rallying for free and fair access to all media during an election campaign period, alleging that the government-owned mainstream media oftentimes tend demonise the opposition in their news coverage.