By Seblewongel Habtamu
The National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) said that it had not received any written comments or suggestions on the draft election reporting code of conduct for the mass media.
NEBE had called for submission of suggestions on the draft code by last Friday after it received complaints from different local media houses. “We had distributed the draft code to various concerned bodies and received complaints that the local media wasn’t included in the drafting process and that it had some problems. After discussion with different media houses two weeks ago, we gave the chance for written suggestions, but received none,” said Mohammad Abdurahman, a public relations officer with NEBE.
He added that although the board had not received any written suggestions by the deadline it had set, it will revise the draft code by taking into consideration suggestions forwarded during a 10-day training held for journalists on election reporting in collaboration with the Addis Ababa University as well as opinions aired during the meeting held with various media houses two weeks ago.
“Media houses didn’t take advantage of the opportunity,” said Mohammad on the lack of response from the media about the submission of suggestions for changes to the draft code.
The draft code received a lot of criticism upon its announcement from local media, which said the code limited journalists from covering the elections fully. Scores of international media and other organizations also criticized the code as being stifling and said that it forced journalists to practise self-censorship.
The revised election reporting code of conduct for the mass media is expected to be approved sometime next week.