ANALYSIS: 15 Questions Media should keep in Mind Covering Electoral process:

Kampala – This is the third part of our series looking at the key issues journalists should pay attention to while covering Uganda’s forthcoming election.

In our previous issues, we have tackled issues concerning voters’ rights as well as candidates and political parties. Today we sum it up with the electoral process as a whole.

In particular, we cover questions that journalists and the media, as the watchdogs of society, should keep at the back of their mind to ensure that their reporting interrogates the fairness and credibility of the electoral process.

  1. Are voters’ lists complete?
  2. Are voters left out able to get on the list by showing valid identification?
  3. Are the ballots easily understood by voters who cannot read?
  4. Do voters easily understand the voting instructions?
  5. Are there enough ballot papers, ballot boxes, and biometric machines?
  6. Are there enough officials to superintend over the voting exercise and to count the votes?
  7. Are there security arrangements to protect the people going to vote?
  8. Are there security arrangements to protect the ballot boxes so nobody can stuff them with false ballots?
  9. Is the Electoral Commission seen as impartial, independent and honest?
  10. Are all competing parties allowed to deploy their election officials/ agents at polling stations?
  11. Does the Electoral Commission respond quickly to complaints from the media, the voters, and the political parties about all alleged violations of the electoral laws? Are violators penalised in any way?
  12. Are the media, non-governmental organisations, and international observers able to monitor and report to the public on the election process without interference or fear?
  13. Are the state media providing reliable coverage of all the candidates and parties? Is the coverage accurate, impartial, responsible, and fair?
  14. Do Private media — newspapers, radio, television, online-only news sites — provide reliable and fair reporting? 
  15. Do private media treat all parties’ advertising equally?

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About Article: Editorial team at The African Centre for Media Excellence (ACME) crafted this article in efforts to sensitize the media.

About ACME: The African Centre for Media Excellence is a Kampala-based independent, non-profit professional organisation that is committed to excellence in journalism and mass communication in Africa.

ACME’s main goal is to make the media a more effective platform for the provision of information on public affairs, a tool for monitoring official power, and a forum for vibrant public debate.

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