Bangladesh Election Commission bars live coverage of elections
Bangladesh Election Commission bars live coverage of elections

B'desh EC bars live coverage of elections

ANI | Updated: Dec 24, 2018 19:30 IST

Dhaka [Bangladesh], Dec 24 (ANI): The Bangladesh Election Commission has barred television channels in the country to live broadcast from inside the polling centres during the General Elections on December 30, while deciding not to issue press stickers for the journalists travelling on motorcycles to cover the polls.
The decision, in force from December 22, comes in the backdrop of a set of election guidelines for the media organisations, which prohibit journalists from using motorcycles. A circular has also been issued by Bangladesh's Home Ministry calling for a ban on unauthorised motorcycles for four days starting from December 29.
The Election Commission has also barred live streaming of the elections in social networking platforms, including Facebook and Twitter from the polling booths. It added that only one journalist would be permitted at a time to enter the booth, according to Bangladeshi media reports.
However, the Election Commission of Bangladesh has agreed to issue stickers for scribes travelling in other modes of vehicles such as sedans and microbuses.
The 11th General Election of Bangladesh is scheduled to take place on December 30. Almost 104.2 million registered voters will cast their votes at about 40,000 polling stations to elect their representatives from across the country.
Earlier on December 15, the country's Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda had said that no live coverage or telephone conversation would be allowed from the polling centres during the elections.
He had added that journalists should not enter the polling booths in large groups. "Journalists, however, can use the mobile phone to take photographs inside the polling centres and broadcast live from the corridor or the ground of the polling centres," Huda had said.
The Election Commission is hinting at slowing down Internet speed across the country on the polling day. Secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed said that internet speeds for 3G and 4G services would be downgraded to 2G level during the voting and would come back to normal after 5 pm (local time) on that day, after polling concludes, as per the reports.
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC), the country's telecom operator is calling for a complete shutdown of mobile internet services or blocking all social media platforms during the elections.
Locals have expressed concerns that a complete blackout or a partial shutdown of Internet services would be a huge blow for local and international businesses, impacting communication services, including ATM facilities, The Daily Star reported.
The Bangladesh government is also facing flak for preventing foreign observers from monitoring the high-stake elections. As of now, 146 foreign election observers from different countries and organisations have been accredited to undertake the election monitoring missions.
To ensure a free and fair election, more than 600,000 security personnel from police, Border Guard Bangladesh, Rapid Action Battalion, Coast Guard, Ansar, and Village Defence Party, would be deployed at polling stations.
The ruling Bangladesh Awami League-led Grand Alliance will be locking horns against the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)-led Jatiya Oikya Front (National Unity Front) and Left Democratic Alliance, where 300 constituencies of the 350-member Parliament are up for grabs. Incumbent Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is seeking to win a third term.
For the BNP, which is looking down and out, following the conviction of its chairperson and former Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia for corruption, is expecting to re-establish itself in the political spectrum after five years.
The BNP also boycotted the last general elections in 2014 due to widespread political violence in which the Awami League won with a thumping majority of 234 seats. (ANI)