Tuesday, 20 October 2009 03:00

The United Nations chairs a high level meeting on media regulation in elections

Baghdad, 20 October 2009: The critical and complementary roles of the Iraqi Media Network (IMN), the Communications and Media Commission (CMC) and the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) were the subject of a round table on Monday, 19 October at the United Nations in Baghdad.


The meeting, which was attended by the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq (SRSG), Ad Melkert, brought together the heads of the three main Iraqi institutions involved in ensuring responsible, fair and accurate reporting on elections. 

The IMN was represented by its Director General, Dr Abdul Karim al-Sudani, the CMC by its new Chief Executive Officer, Dr Burhan Shawi, and the IHEC by the Chief Electoral Officer Hamdia al Hussaini.

It was the first time that these three institutions had been brought together under the auspices of the UN and this fact was acknowledged by participants as an indication of the crucial role of media in underscoring the legitimacy of the electoral process.

Mr. Melkert said, “Elections are not just about the formal institutions or laws, but also about the constructive context and open climate in which elections are held.” He added, “The role of the media is key in ensuring the free and fair dimensions of elections and this meeting is an important step in finding the common ground on which to work.”

With just 90 days to go before important parliamentary elections in Iraq, the meeting was called to understand the constraints faced by each institution in performing its role in the electoral process and to identify how the UN could provide support. Among the issues identified were drastic budget cuts that prevented the IMN from performing its public service role without charging the IHEC, the need for the CMC to ensure that broadcasters were licensed and to monitor broadcast content, and for both institutions to work closely with the election commission.

Participants agreed to form a technical working group, facilitated by the UN, to organize a national workshop on the CMC Code of Conduct for the Media during Elections, and to follow up on strengthening the common denominators between the three institutions.

Last modified on Tuesday, 20 October 2009 03:00

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