POST TIME: 21 November, 2018 01:02:03 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 21 November, 2018 05:37:34 PM
Don’t talk to media on voting day
Election Commission urges local observers
Staff Reporter, Dhaka

Don’t talk to media on voting day

The Election Commission (EC) yesterday barred local election observers from talking to the media about the election situation while on their rounds during the voting day. They will not be allowed to carry mobile phones or to take photos in the polling centres during voting for the 11th parliamentary elections slated for December 30. EC secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed yesterday announced these restrictions while briefing the representatives of local election observer agencies at the Nirbachan Bhaban in the capital.

“Election observers will observe the polls just like standing statues. They cannot talk to the media to make any comments. They will also not be allowed to carry mobile phones and take any snaps. They cannot enter the voting enclosures in booths. They will only observe the irregularities during the election,” he said.

“When you appoint observers, tell them they will have to carry the EC’s identity cards all the time for instant recognition. After entering a polling centre, you will have to disclose your identity to the presiding officer,” he told the representatives.

“An observer will submit only a single report to you. You will compile all the reports of your observers and submit it to the commission. You cannot make any comment before submitting the report to the EC. You can hold a press conference after that,” he said.

“Clearly tell your observers that they will not enter the marking place of a booth. They cannot give any direction to anybody. They will not give any suggestion to the presiding officer and polling officers,” he also said.

“If any irregularities occur at a centre, you cannot verbally inform it to the commission. The report has to be in writing and very specific,” he added.

The secretary said: “The role of the observer will be neutral. Don’t appoint any person who has a political identity.”

“Be careful of your action. Your action can cost you your registration. Don’t do anything that can raise questions about the election,” he added.

About the 11th parliamentary polls, Helal Uddin said: “We hope that the election would

be peaceful and competitive. This election has many features like the inclusion of all political parties, non-dissolution of Parliament and its being held under the incumbent government.” He also said the commission will deploy the Army, BGB, police, RAB, Ansar, and the coast guard in the election for maintaining law and order. Electronic voting machines will be introduced in the polls for the first time at some centres, he added.

The commission has given registration to 118 local election observer agencies to watch the elections. As per the election observation policy, the presence of observers in the election creates confidence among voters about the transparency of the process.