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POLITICAL BROADCASTS AND PARTY ELECTION BROADCASTS GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR PRIVATE AND PUBLIC BROADCASTERS GENERAL ELECTIONS 2005 (ISSUED IN PURSUANCE OF PARAGRAPH 6 OF THE CODE OF CONDUCT FOR BROADCASTING SERVICES OFTHE IBA ACT) Broadcasting licensees shall ensure that these Guidelines are strictly adhered to by their employees and agents, and, wherever applicable, their interviewees. PART A - POLITICAL BROADCASTS A.1 Preamble (1) (a) Broadcasting licensees shall provide fair, equitable, balanced, accurate and impartial reporting of political events and fair, equitable and balanced coverage to all parties,alliances and independent candidates at elections. This implies, inter alia, that the broadcasting licensee shall be guided by what the public has the right to know and shall not pose as an unchallenged authority that has unrestrained freedom to decide what the public ‘should’ know. Nor is it the broadcasting licensee’s function to arbitrarily decide in advance that some candidates are more ‘worthy’of coverage than others. Broadcasting licensees shall, in particular, ensure that, during the 48 hours immediately preceding polling day, they do not broadcast any politically-related matter which may reasonably upset the balance to be observed throughout the election broadcast period pursuant to these Guidelines. For the purposes of subparagraph (b), “politically-related matter” does not includea party election broadcast, such broadcast being, in any event, subject to the requirements laid down in Part B (and more particularly paragraph B.2(2) of these Guidelines.
Broadcasting licensees shall not rely on political parties to bring information to them. They shall actively seek out information so as not to give parties with greater resources inequitable amounts ofcoverage.
2 (3) A declaration from a broadcasting licensee that it declines responsibility for anything said in the course of a broadcast shall not absolve the licensee from responsibility arising under the law. Broadcasting licensees are reminded that freedom of expression, as guaranteed under our Constitution, is subject to a number of limitations and that they have to comply with all thelaws in force in the country and, in particular, the law relating to libel and defamation. (a) For the purposes of these Guidelines, equitable treatment shall not be construed as being equal treatment in all cases. Equity also applies to the duration of broadcasts, to scheduling, to issue coverage and approach, to conditions under which an appearance or/and intervention may be made, and in the caseof paid political announcements, to cost of same.
Interpretation For the purposes of these Guidelines “paid political announcement” means an announcement, on behalf of a political party, of a political event, in respect of which a broadcasting licensee is entitled to claim payment; “political party” includes a registered political alliance to which the party belongs,and reference to a political party shall, wherever the context so requires, be deemed to be a reference to an individual candidate; “political programme” (a) means a programme on political issues or politically-related issues, which is broadcast by the licensee; and includes a debate, interview or any agreed programme format on political issues or politically-related issues to whichrepresentatives of political parties or other persons are invited by the broadcasting licensee.
Political programmes and paid political announcements (1) Political programmes and paid political announcements shall not (a) involve character assassination or vilification of any candidate or other person, or any adverse comment on the integrity of any person;
involve any attack...