Baku hosts seminar on media’s role and duties in presidential elections
A seminar-conference on the role and duties of media in presidential elections was held in Baku on March 19.
The seminar-conference was co-organized by the Azerbaijani Presidential Administration, the Central Election Commission (CEC), the National Television and Radio Council (NTRC) and the Press Council.
Azerbaijani President’s Assistant for Public and Political Affairs Ali Hasanov, CEC Chairman Mazahir Panahov, NTRC Chairman Nushiravan Maharramli, Press Council Chairman Aflatun Amashov, heads of several media outlets, journalists, active social network users and bloggers.
Addressing the event, CEC Chairman Mazahir Panahov said that the electoral process is about to over, and a roundtable with the participation of presidential elections will be aired on Public Television (ITV).
"Pre-election campaigning begins today. The roundtable in the radio is scheduled to start around 19.00, on Public Television at 22.00 or after 22.00 Baku time,” he said.
The CEC chairman informed that over 5,300,000 people are expected to vote at 5,600 polling stations in the upcoming presidential election.
“A 280-meber short-term election observation mission from the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) will arrive in Azerbaijan a few days before the voting day. In addition, web cameras will be installed at 1,000 polling stations. Web cameras are an indicator of the transparency of elections. It is possible to observe the electoral process in 20 per cent of polling stations in Azerbaijan from anywhere in the world without coming to Azerbaijan. This is a manifestation of a political will. At the initiative of the President of Azerbaijan the decision has been made to install web cameras to ensure transparency in the elections,” he said.
Noting that sometimes minor cases of electoral infringement are exaggerated by outside forces, the CEC chairman said the media have a great role to play in the election process.
"We believe in the experience of the Azerbaijani mass media. Voting is the only thing process whereby outside forces get the opportunity to a country’s domestic affairs. The media have had a large role in the election achievements in Azerbaijan,” added Panahov.
Presidential Assistant for Public and Political Affairs Ali Hasanov said the election process is consists of pre-campaign, campaign and election observation, and the announcement of results. Hasanov urged the mass media to comply with the Electoral Code and to demonstrate professional activity.
NTRC Chairman Maharramli noted that no complaint has been filed by any organization or candidate so far.
Chairman of the Press Council Aflatun Amashov spoke about the Press Council's activities relating the upcoming elections.
"The monitoring of 15 newspapers, 10 agencies, is ongoing. To what extent the materials on the candidates have been prepared will be examined. Attention will be paid to the difference between the facts and the author's comment. The Press Council’s landlines will be functioning as “hotlines” during the elections. As soon as any issues arise, the CEC will be contacted just as in the previous elections," he said.
Deputy Chairman of the CEC Natig Mammadov delivered a speech on the theme about the free behavior and equality of the campaign subjects during the pre-election campaign stage in Azerbaijan's presidential elections, and on the role and responsibilities of the media in this process.
The event continued in discussions.
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